21st October, 2018 – International GT Open, Barcelona
Third place in Saturday’s race at Barcelona was enough for Borlenghi and Lewandowski to officially claim the 2018 International GT Open Am Championship. Another podium on Sunday concluded a season of remarkable consistency which saw them score points in every race, take five victories and finish on the podium a further five times.
For the final round of the 2018 International GT Open Championship VSR welcomed Englishman Phil Keen who shared the team’s Pro Lamborghini with season regular Kang Ling. There were no changes for the Am Huracan, with Giulio Borlenghi and Andrzej Lewandowski aiming to win the Championship they had led since round three at Spa-Francorchamps.
Keen and Lewandowski took part in qualifying for Saturday’s race. Keen claimed a place on row six and Lewandowski was third fastest in Am but was dropped to the back of the field due to a penalty left over from the previous race. Keen made a good start but was then pushed off track by a wayward BMW and a run through the gravel left him in last place. Lewandowski was quick to pass Championship rival Basso, demoting the Brazilian on lap two and then putting the Pro-Am Mercedes of Plachutta between them a lap later. The safety car neutralised the race on lap nine by which time Keen had recovered to twenty-third and Lewandowski was running comfortably fourth in class. When the safety car came in the pit window opened and Keen immediately pitted to hand over to Ling but, hampered by damage sustained on the first lap, the Chinese driver could do no better than limp home in thirteenth place. Lewandowski stopped three laps later than the Pro car and after discounting the success penalty from the previous rounds Borlenghi took over. On lap twenty-five he passed Sardinha for third and was catching the leading Am cars of Constantini and Salas when a second safety car period halted racing. The track went green again with just two laps remaining and Borlenghi held station to take third place at the flag and seal the Am Championship for the team.
Sunday morning saw Ling and Borlenghi qualify on rows nine and ten for the final race of the season. Both drivers made up places at the start with Borlenghi squeezing ahead of Ling where he remained until lap eight when the Chinese driver repassed him. Ling came in for his driver change shortly after the pit window opened, leaving the VSR Pro car in the hands of Keen. Borlenghi stopped on lap fifteen and Lewandowski took over, exiting the pits in the middle of the Pro-Am Championship battle. When the pit window closed the impact of the various success penalties could be seen and by lap twenty Keen was in to the top ten and Lewandowski was second in Am. The newly crowned Am Champion was quick to catch and pass Finelli’s Mercedes for the class lead but was soon under pressure from Constantini. Keen battled with fellow Brits Onslow-Cole and Wilkinson throughout the final stage of the race and took the flag in seventh place. Lewandowski held onto the class lead until two laps before the end when avoiding a slowing car let Constantini slip through and steal the win.