19th November, 2017 – Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Final, Imola
Yuki Nemoto and Raphael Abbate won the final race of the 2017 Lamborghini Super Trofeo season at Imola today and finished runners up in the 2017 World Final. The team’s speed was further underlined by Nicolas Costa who recorded the fastest lap of the race and was running in third before he was taken out of the race by another driver.
With the drivers split by class for the World Final it was the Am’s who took to the circuit first. Myszkowski qualified for Saturday’s race on the second row but was thwarted during his race stint by a succession of safety car periods for various incidents further down the field and managed only one racing lap before handing over to Lewandowski. They were the first of the leading group to pit and Lewandowski kept both Scholze and Harata behind him as the race progressed. It looked like being another victory for the rapid Poles, already crowned AM champions, until with ten minutes left to go Harata made a rash dive down the inside tipping Lewandowski into a spin. Lewandowski retired immediately with damage whilst Harata succumbed a lap later. Scholze went on to win the race.
The Pro and Pro-Am grid was one car short as VSR was forced to sadly retire the Pro-Am championship winning car driven by Dreyspring and Liang due to chassis damage. The team’s two Pro cars were amongst the fastest in qualifying and for race one Nemoto qualified on the front row, beaten to the pole by just 0.011 seconds by Agostini. Right behind him was Liberati, third fastest in an extremely close session which saw the top twelve cars covered by just one second. At the start a slow getaway from Nemoto saw him slip back to seventh before the safety car joined the track for three laps. At the restart Liberati lost out to Lind and Nemoto fell back to tenth. A lap later Liberati was hit by Jeffries, sustaining damage to the VSR car which compromised the rest of the race for him and team-mate Costa who would eventually take the flag in sixteenth place. The pit window opened on lap eleven by which time Nemoto had fought back to seventh place. He handed his Lamborghini over to Abbate who became immediately involved in a four car scrap for fifth place which would last until the end of the race. Barely a second covered the four drivers and Abbate was able to pass first Yazid and then Cecotto to finish sixth.
Qualifying for the second Am race saw Lewandowski take a place on row five after his best lap was ruined by an aborted full course yellow. At the start of the race there was drama at the first corner and once again Harata was involved, this time hitting the pole sitter and causing him to spin around and block the track. In the resulting chaos many cars took to the grass and Lewandowski slipped back to 22nd. The Pole then put in a great recovery drive gaining nine places before the safety car came out on lap five. He picked off another two places, passing Cordoni and Haryanto, before stopping in the pits to give the car to Myszkowski for the remainder of the race. His stint was marred by two safety car periods and the race was eventually red flagged with six minutes to go. Myszkowski was running in sixth place when the race was stopped.
Abbate qualified on the front row for the final race of the weekend whilst Costa’s best time was good enough for sixth. Both the VSR drivers maintained position at the start and as Abbate stayed glued to Breukers’s gearbox Costa began to move through the field. On lap four he passed Kujala to take fifth place and with clear air was immediately the quickest man on track, setting the fastest lap of the race. In three laps he closed up to the battle for third between Cecotto and Grenier. Grenier eliminated Cecotto and a lap later Costa overtook him at the final corner only for Grenier to push him off the circuit and into the wall. A brief safety car period followed and when the track went green the pit window opened and a dozen cars dived into the pits. Abbate stayed out for one more lap before handing the VSR Lamborghini over to Nemoto. The Japanese driver exited the pits just behind Jeffries who had taken over from Breukers and half a lap later moved cleanly into the lead. He pulled away easily and with metronomic consistency created a gap of nearly eight seconds. Victory in the final race combined with sixth position yesterday meant Abbate and Nemoto finished runners up in the World Final.