PRESS RELEASE: 9th October 2022
VSR win Overall and Pro-Am Italian Endurance titles for Lamborghini
Italian GT Endurance Championship - Round 4, Monza
Going into the final weekend of the Championship the drivers of the two VSR Pro cars were tied on points at the top of the overall standings once the obligatory points deductions were taken into account. With Beretta absent due to commitments in the USA the 19 car was shared by Liberati and Nemoto. Basz, Hites and Michelotto were an unchanged crew in the 63 car. In the 66 Lambo Cola and Moulin led the Pro-Am Championship, holding a slender two point advantage over the BMW of Comandini/Fascicolo/Nilsson.
The combined times from Saturday evenings qualifying sessions set the grid for the race and once more it was the VSR Pro cars on top, separated by the smallest of margins. The 19 car set the pole and the 63 lined up alongside giving VSR a front row lockout. Cola and Moulin took a place on the fifth row, qualifying fourth in Pro-Am.
Rain through most of Sunday morning left the circuit wet but drying for the two hour race which started behind the Safety Car with most of the front runners choosing to switch to slicks on the grid. Racing went green after two safety car laps and as the cars tiptoed through the first chicane at racing speeds for the first time Liberati, struggling with a back injury, lost out to Guidetti and Hites and then to the two Mercedes who were running on wets. Moulin made a crucial pass on the Pro-Am BMW and then on lap nine a puncture pushed Galbiati’s Mercedes down the order moving all the VSR cars up one place. Liberati, running at the back of the GT3 group, pitted as soon as the first window opened and Nemoto took over for a flat out double stint to the flag. At the half hour mark Hites, one of the fastest men on track, was running comfortably in second, eighteen seconds behind Guidetti in the leading Honda with Moulin in sixth holding second in Pro-Am. Hites pitted on lap twenty-three and Michelotto took over the wheel of the 63 car. Moulin followed him in one lap later and Cola continued the Pro-Am battle with the BMW just as the first pit window closed.
Setting some of the fastest laps of the race Nemoto hauled the 19 car back up to fourth, just behind Cola in third but twenty-six seconds behind Michelotto. The 63 car, running second, was twenty-two seconds behind the Honda out front. On lap twenty-seven Nemoto took third from Cola and then an accident for Mur just before half distance bought out the Safety Car and closed up the field.
The race restarted on lap thirty-one with one backmarker separating Michelotto from Cabezas in the leading Honda and three between Michelotto and Nemoto. Cola had his Pro-Am title rival Comandini right behind him and the BMW was quick to pass the Lamborghini for the class lead. On lap thirty-three Michelotto made a move on Cabezas but ran out of road and slipped back into second as Nemoto closed on them both. When the second pit window opened Cola was the first to pit and Moulin took over for the rest of the race. A technical problem delayed the BMW during its pit-stop giving the Belgian some breathing room The Honda pitted early in the window and Moncini took over whilst out front Michelotto and Nemoto were the fastest drivers on track and separated by just one second. Michelotto pitted on lap forty-one and Basz jumped into the 63 Lambo. One lap later Nemoto pitted for tyres and fuel. Both VSR Lamborghinis and the Honda had the same success penalty to discount and when the pit window closed it was Nemoto in the lead with Basz behind him and the Honda, now with Moncini on board, in third. On lap forty three disaster struck for the 63 Lambo which stopped on track with a gearbox issue. The Safety Car was bought out once more for the recovery and racing resumed with fifteen minutes left on the clock. Half a lap later and the Safety Car was back out again for a crash by Magnoni. This time when the track went green there were just seven minutes left. Nemoto made a clean restart and never looked under pressure from the Honda behind him, taking the chequered flag and claiming the overall Championship for himself and Liberati. Moulin bought the Pro-Am car home second in class, a result which sealed the Pro-Am title for himself and Cola.