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Jun 02, 2024

Victories and podiums at home race leave VSR well placed in title races

Imola hosted the second round of the Italian GT Sprint Championship this weekend with the fifty-five entries split into GT3 and GT Cup categories. VSR’s three Lamborghini Huracán GT3 cars were piloted by Cazzaniga and Di Folco in the 19 Pro entry, Fabi and Moulin in the Pro-Am 63 and Michelotto and Stadsbader in the 66 Pro car. The team’s Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo, number 163, was once again driven by Tribaudini and Zanon in GT Cup Pro-Am. 

Heavy storms made Friday’s practice sessions something of a lottery but nevertheless the times for the second sessions were topped by VSR cars with the 19 Lambo of Cazzaniga and Di Folco the fastest GT3 and Tribaudini and Zanon quickest in GT Cup. Cazzaniga, Moulin and Michelotto were out in the first qualifying, a session marred by a full course yellow in the final four minutes. Michelotto took a spot on the front row, qualifying second, with Cazzaniga just behind him on row two whilst Moulin was the second fastest Pro-Am car. In the opening GT Cup qualifying Tribaudini was fifth fastest in a session that was red flagged and then run for several minutes under full course yellow.

At the start of race one Michelotto held on to second, Cazzaniga slipped down to seventh and Moulin made a move on Malvestiti to take the lead of Pro-Am. There were no significant changes to the order until the pit window opened on lap twelve. First of the VSR cars to pit was Cazzaniga who stopped for Di Folco. The pair had a six second success penalty to discount from Misano. Two laps later Moulin gave the Pro-Am lead over to Fabi and a lap later Michelotto handed over to Stadsbader. The Belgian held second when the pit window closed despite a three second success penalty. Di Folco, the fastest man on track, ran in fourth with Fabi behind him in fifth. Di Folco was catching the battle for second between Stadsbader and Cola when a coming together between Fabi and Nurmi bought out the red flag and took away the Pro-Am win from the 63 car. A post-race penalty for a false start by Denes, followed by exclusion for a technical infringement, gave the win to Michelotto and Stadsbader and promoted Cazzaniga and Di Folco to a well deserved third place.

There was drama at the start of the first GT Cup race with a mid-grid pile up causing an immediate Safety Car period. Racing finally got underway ten minutes before the pit window opened but only a handful of laps were completed before the Safety Car was back out. The track went green again just as the pit window opened. Tribaudini boxed on lap fourteen to discount his hefty fifteen second handicap from winning last time out. Zanon took over the 163 and after enjoying an uninterrupted stint bought the VSR Lambo home fourth in class, passing Locanto and Han on the final lap.  

Di Folco qualified on the second row for Sunday’s race in another difficult session which featured a full course yellow at the half-way point and a red flag at the end. Stadsbader took a place on row six with Fabi alongside him, the fourth quickest Pro-Am car. The race got underway under threatening skies with Di Folco slipping into second behind Klingmann. Stadsbader made his way through the field, passing Boguslavsky, Nurmi and Jelmini to run eighth when the pit window opened. Fabi was the first of the VSR cars to stop, pitting from fifteenth to give the 63 car to Moulin. Di Folco and Stadsbader stayed out until the end of the window, both having to discount heavy success penalties from Saturday. Light rain hit the track just as the pit window closed and Colavita was the first victim, spinning into the wall and causing a Safety Car. Several cars opted to pit for wets including both VSR Pro cars. By the time the track went green there were just seven minutes left on the clock but the rain had stopped. Moulin, still on slicks, charged through to take a fine second place finish in Pro-Am, passing Bomtempelli and Berto in the closing stages of the race. 

For the second GT Cup race Zanon lined up on row five after a red flag at the half-way point of his qualifying session fell just before he completed his best lap. At the start he picked his way through a first corner crash to move up to seventh before the Safety Car came out. Zanon held the position when racing resumed and on lap eleven pitted for Tribaudini. When the pit window closed Tribaudini was running third, catching Renmans and with Pollini closing in. Another Safety Car period followed and racing resumed with less than five minutes on the clock. After half a lap of racing the Safety Car was back out and the cars took the chequered flag in single file with Tribaudini classified second after post race penalties.

Success at Imola leaves Michelotto and Stadsbader at the top of the overall standings with Cazzaniga and Di Folco in fourth, just one point behind Klingmann. Fabi and Moulin lie second in the Pro-Am title race and Tribaudini and Zanon second in GT Cup Pro-Am.

The Sprint Championship now takes a break until the end of August but the Italian GT Endurance gets underway in a fortnight’s time at Vallelunga.