Kang Ling and Tuomas Tujula won the Pro-Am class of the three-hour Italian GT Endurance Championship at Misano today. The VSR Lamborghini drivers also finished third overall.
VSR’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 was raced at Misano this weekend in the second round of the Italian GT Endurance Championship by Kang Ling (China) and Tuomas Tujula (Finland) who together competed in the hotly contested Pro-Am category. Their pace was promising in Friday’s free practice sessions and they made the best of the mixed weather during Saturday’s qualifying to take a place on the front row, just 0.07 seconds off the pole.
Another heavy rainstorm just before the cars were due to head out to the grid meant the race was started behind the safety car. After three laps the safety car pulled in and Tujula was quick to take control of the race, wresting the lead from Moiseev on the first lap of racing. The Russian quickly fell back through the field in the treacherous conditions and soon Tujula had Sims’s BMW climbing all over him. Before the British driver could make a move he was passed by Postiglione making it a Lamborghini one-two at the head of the field. Twenty minutes into the race Tujula was caught out by the wet track and went straight on at corner thirteen. His only mistake of the weekend saw him slip down to seventh overall, third in Pro-Am but he was quick to recover and a few minutes later overtook Zonzini for second in class. At the half hour mark Tujula found himself in a six car train held up by Cazzaniga and Weerts. Weerts soon found a way to slip his Audi past the Italian and Tujula was quick to follow him through, putting his Lamborghini down the inside of Cazzaniga and giving him no choice but to cede the class lead to the VSR driver. A spin from Veglia promoted Tujula to third overall and as the race neared the first hour the Finn was one of the fastest men on track and began reeling in the battle for second overall being fought over by Weerts and Sims. With Zonzini hot on his heels Tujula caught Sims and passed him just as the rain started to fall again. When the pit window opened for the first driver change Tujula was third overall and leading Pro-Am but the top three in class were covered by just three seconds. His battle with Zonzini raged on until the Italian pitted, giving the VSR driver a breather and a chance to maximise his pace on his own in lap.
Ling took over the car in the class lead and was running second overall when the pit window closed. He quickly established a comfortable gap to the second placed Pro-Am which was extended after a spin from Perolini lost him ten seconds. Twenty minutes into his stint Ling was the fastest Pro-Am car on track and as the asphalt began to dry the Chinese driver concentrated on maintaining his class lead. Halfway through the race Palma moved his Mercedes into second in class and began eating into Ling’s lead. The VSR driver was meanwhile embroiled in a battle with Nato, the fastest man on track, for second overall and the Audi found a way past just as the pit window opened for the second driver change. Ling stopped right at the end of the window leaving Tujula to manage the last fifty minutes of the race. The Finn was immediately back up to speed and was the fastest man on track at the start of his stint. For the remainder of the race he managed the gap to Linossi, keeping the Mercedes fifteen seconds back whilst looking after his wet tyres on the quickly drying track.
Tujula took the chequered flag in third place overall, winning the Pro-Am class with team-mate Ling and completing a fine ten days for VSR which saw the team also take victory last weekend on the other side of the world in the Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia.