8th September, 2019 – GT Cup Open Europe, Silverstone
Hans-Peter Koller and Edoardo Liberati celebrated overall and Pro-Am victory twice at Silverstone this weekend, winning both races of the GT Cup Open Europe Championship in their VSR Lamborghini.
After a two month break the GT Cup Open Europe reconvened at Silverstone for round four of the Championship. VSR fielded an unchanged line-up for it’s two Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo cars with Hans-Peter Koller and Edoardo Liberati racing in Pro-Am and JP Mauro and Rodolfo Toni driving in Am. Liberati was fastest overall in Friday morning’s free practice session whilst the afternoon session was rained off.
It was dry for Saturday morning’s qualifying in which the VSR Lamborghinis were trusted to Koller and Mauro. Mauro was quick to show his pace, stealing pole position from Solieri at the halfway point of the session. Koller qualified fifth, second in the Pro-Am class. At the start of the race Mauro held the lead easily while Koller, hit from behind by Diaz-Varela’s Audi, lost two places. Mauro set two fastest laps in succession as he pushed hard to try and break up the field but after four laps found himself under attack by Solieri. Koller became involved in a battle with Diaz-Varela and Salom’s McLaren which would last until the pit window opened and the VSR driver pitted to hand over to Liberati. Up front Mauro had pulled out just under three seconds to Solieri and the rest of the field and waited until lap fourteen to pit. Toni took over the car and after discounting his success penalty came out in second place behind O’Brien’s Aston Martin. By the time the pit window closed Liberati was flying and after setting a string of fastest laps had broken into the top five and was running sixteen seconds behind the leader. His relentless march to the front continued and on lap nineteen he overtook Leutwiler for third and had halved the gap to the leader. A lap later the VSR cars swapped places, leaving Liberati free to hunt down O’Brien. With three laps left to run Liberati caught the Aston and passed him easily to take overall and class victory for himself and Koller. Toni finished third overall, second in Am after a tussle in the final five minutes with Cerqueda’s Audi.
Sunday morning dawned clear and sunny but unseasonably cold and Liberati took a convincing pole position for race two while Toni’s session ended in the gravel leaving him to start from row six. When the lights went green Liberati was quick away and pulled out a two second gap over the first lap. Much of the excitement in the early stages of the race came from Toni as he fought his way through the field, passing Martinet and Vandierendonck on the opening lap and Curti and Pujeu two laps later. On lap six he overtook Font and the pair battled ferociously until Font got ahead again. Together they passed Vivacqua but the overtake earned Toni a five second penalty. The pit window opened on lap eleven and Toni came in straightaway to discount his success handicap of ten seconds and hand the VSR Lamborghini over to Mauro. Liberati waited until lap fifteen before pitting by which time the flying Italian had pulled out a huge gap of twenty-five seconds to second placed man Salas who followed him into the pits. Koller took over the lead of the race and ran untroubled at the front of the field to take the chequered flag in first place and claim the second win of the weekend for himself and Liberati. Mauro, one of the quickest on the track in his stint, hauled his Lamborghini up to seventh place claiming fourth in the Am class.
Their Silverstone success means Koller and Liberati head to the penultimate round of the Championship at Barcelona in a fortnight’s time leading the overall and Pro-Am standings. Mauro and Toni lie third in the Am Championship.