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Jul 31, 2022

Both cars to the flag and fourth in Silver Cup for VSR at this year’s TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa

Fanatec GT World Challenge Endurance by AWS – Round 3, Spa

For the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa the regular VSR crews were joined by a last year’s Lamborghini Super Trofeo World Final winners Karol Basz and Mattia Michelotto. Michelotto joined the Silver Cup crew of Dörrbecker, Moulin and Paverud in the 163 car whilst Basz raced in the 563 Lambo with Beretta, Hites and Nemoto. The drivers went into Thursday evening’s qualifying with minimal running after Free Practice and Pre-Qualifying earlier in the day had been marred by multiple red-flag stoppages. The 563 car qualified in the middle of the sixty-six car field and was the eighth fastest Silver Cup runner. The 163 suffered a grid penalty and lined up on row twenty-eight.

Beretta and Moulin started the race, both drivers double-stinting and enjoying an unusually long period of green flag running that was marred only by time penalties for track limits infringements. The first Safety Car period came just before the end of the second hour and both cars pitted to change driver. Basz and Dorrbecker took over for double stints which included three separate Safety Car periods. As the race entered the fifth hour it was the turn of Hites and Michelotto to get behind the wheel of the VSR Lambos for double stints which saw night fall across the track. At quarter distance, in full dark conditions, Nemoto and Paverud took over driving duties and the two VSR cars ran close together, holding eighth and ninth in the super competitive Silver Cup class. Their double stints were marked by a lengthy Safety Car period just before midnight but both drivers gained a class place nevertheless. 
Dörrbecker was back in the 163 car as Sunday began and shortly afterwards Beretta replaced Nemoto in the 563. Their stints were interrupted by a red flag followed by a lengthy Safety Car restart which took the race into it’s eleventh hour. Just before the halfway point Beretta handed the 563 car back to Nemoto and Paverud jumped back into the 163 after Dorrbecker had completed a triple stint. The two completed the final hours of darkness and remained on board as dawn broke. A lengthy FCY followed by a Safety Car period just after six in the morning gave the team the chance to change both drivers and fulfil the obligatory technical pit-stops. Racing resumed with Hites and Michelotto alternating with Basz and Moulin and as the morning progressed the two VSR cars consolidated 5th and 6th in class. Nemoto and Dorrbecker took over as the race headed towards the final quarter. Some heavy accidents saw them run behind the Safety Car for almost ninety minutes during their double stints and when racing went green Nemoto became involved in a tense battle for fourth in class with Perez Companc’s Mercedes. The fight ended with the 563 car suffering damage in a collision at La Source which took twenty minutes to repair and pushed it back down to thirty-fourth. 

Beretta took the repaired 563 car back out on track just as Dorrbecker pitted for Michelotto to take over the 163 Lambo which had inherited fifth in class from its sister car.  The Italian youngster did a single stint before giving the car to Paverud whilst Hites took over from Beretta with two and a half hours to go. A great final stint from Paverud saw him catch and pass Kujala who had taken Perez Companc’s place in the Mercedes which had collided with Nemoto. Paverud held a slender lead over the Mercedes when he came in for his final stop and handed the 163 over to Moulin for the run to the chequered flag. Kujala pitted a lap later and Perz Companc once more got behind the wheel but a penalty and a last minute pit stop allowed Moulin to put a lap over the Mercedes and cruise to the flag and fourth in Silver Cup. Having started from fifty-sixth on the grid the 163 car made up thirty-five places over the course of the race. The 563 car finished eighth in the Silver Cup class meaning both the VSR Lamborghinis scored points.