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Jun 20, 2021

Beretta and Schandorff lead VSR 1-2 at Spa

International GT Open, Round 2

The 2021 International GT Open Championship continued this weekend with a double header event at Spa-Francorchamps. The team’s two Lamborghini Huracán GT3 cars were both entered in the Pro category, the number 19 driven by Baptiste Moulin and Yuki Nemoto and the number 63 by Michele Beretta and Frederik Schandorff.

Saturday morning’s qualifying session saw Moulin and Schandorff take to the track. Schandorff set the third fastest time in a tight session which saw the top three covered by less than two tenths of a second. Moulin did enough for a place on row five after his best lap was deleted for a track limits infringement at Blanchimont. Both drivers made great starts with Schandorff getting the better of Soucek on the run out of Eau Rouge and Moulin gaining three positions before the Safety Car was bought out to neutralise the race while Janosz’s Porsche was recovered. After three laps racing resumed and Moulin was quick to pass Dinan’s Aston Martin before the Safety Car reappeared after just ninety seconds of green flag racing. When the second neutralization finished after over eighteen minutes Schandorff was finally free to try and attack Millroy’s McLaren. The pit window opened soon after and Moulin pitted immediately. He handed the 19 car to Nemoto and the pair discounted their five second success penalty from Paul Ricard. Schandorff pitted two laps later and with a ten second success handicap to serve Beretta exited the pits just ahead of Nemoto and at the tail of a three car battle for second place. On lap sixteen Beretta got alongside Foley’s Aston Martin but after duelling for several corners had to back out. Two laps later the battle was joined by Spinelli and Nemoto, escaping from the Mercedes, slipped down the inside of Beretta. As the two jostled for position Spinelli found a way past Beretta but the VSR driver reclaimed the place on lap twenty-two and held off the increasingly desperate Mercedes until the flag. Fourth and fifth overall for the VSR cars eliminated their success penalties for Sunday’s race and left them second and fourth in the Championship.

Despite overnight rain the track was dry for Sunday morning’s delayed and shortened qualifying session. Beretta qualified on row two with Nemoto just behind him in fifth. The VSR pair held station at the start and tucked in behind the fraught battle for the lead between Carroll and Spinelli. By lap three the five-car group at the front of the field had pulled out a three second gap which gradually extended. When the pit window opened on lap eleven Beretta was just two seconds behind Carroll who had kept Spinelli behind him and the VSR driver pitted immediately to allow Schandorff to take over the 63 car. The Dane was immediately the quickest man on track and when the pit window closed held the race lead from Moulin who had taken over the 19 car on lap fifteen. Moulin had Dinan right behind him but fended off the Aston Martin until it was forced to pit with a puncture. Soucek closed to within three seconds of the VSR cars but was not close enough to stop them taking their second 1-2 of the season.

Beretta and Schandorff now sit second in the Championship, one point shy of Soucek and Al Zubair, with Moulin and Nemoto in third. The next round of the Championship will be at The Hungaroring in three weeks time.