23rd September, 2018 – International GT Open, Monza
Second place in Saturday’s race and a points finish on Sunday means Giulio Borlenghi and Andrzej Lewandowski hold a slim eight point lead in the International GT Open Am Championship with one race to go.
Nicolas Costa returned at Monza, partnering Kang Ling in the VSR Pro Lamborghini. There was an unchanged line-up for the team’s Championship leading Am car with Guilio Borlenghi and Andrzej Lewandowski pairing up once again. Ling and Lewandowski took part in qualifying for Saturday’s race. The Chinese driver set a time good enough for the seventh row and Lewandowski was third fastest in Am. Both VSR cars survived a chaotic opening lap but a coming together with Cheever left Ling with significant damage to the front of his Lamborghini. Two laps later Lewandowski was hit and spun down to the back of the field. Three brief safety car periods allowed him to close back up to the rest of the field and before the pit window opened he was able to overtake Hrachowina, Basso, Plachutta and Baptista. Ling was the first car to stop, handing his damaged Huracan over to Costa. Lewandowski ran until the very end of the pit window before stopping so Borlenghi could take over. With a hefty twenty second success penalty to discount the Brazilian exited the pits fifth in class. In a handful of laps he caught up to the second, third and fourth placed Ams and the trio battled hard for several laps before Borlenghi made his way through, taking second place and pulling away until the chequered flag fell. Costa came home in tenth place, the final points scoring position, after making a crucial pass on Di Folco on lap twenty.
Another tight qualifying session on Sunday morning saw Costa qualify on the seventh row and Borlenghi set the third fastest time in Am. On the opening lap Costa passed Giammaria and Borlenghi charged to the front of the Am battle. He kept the lead until lap six when Salas in the BMW found a way in past. Elsewhere the situation was static and Costa was sandwiched between the Lamborghinis of Gattuso and Giammaria until the pit window opened on lap fourteen. Borlenghi pitted immediately and while Lewandowski took over they discounted their twenty second success penalty. Costa stayed out for a further four laps before handing over to Ling. When the pit window closed the Chinese driver was running in seventh. With fifteen minutes left he caught and passed Salikhov’s Ferrari but two safety car periods in the remaining laps stopped him from making any further progress up the field. He took the flag in sixth place but a penalty for a start infringement knocked the VSR car out of the points. Lewandowski took the flag fourth in Am, enough to keep him and team-mate Borlenghi ahead in the Championship standings.
The International GT Open Championship concludes next month with the final round at Barcelona.