6th May, 2017 – International GT Open, Paul Ricard
Borlenghi and Lewandowski took their second International GT Open podium finish at Paul Ricard, finishing 3rd in the Am category in Saturday’s race. Costa and Ling continued their run of points scoring finishes claiming 7th in both races despite starting from the back of the grid on Sunday.
Mixed weather affected Friday free practice as the two VSR Lamborghini Huracans joined twenty-one other GT3 cars for the start of round two of the International GT Open. Both cars showed their potential in the first session which was run mostly in the dry. Costa posted the fifth fastest time overall, just 0.7 seconds off the leading Mercedes while fellow Brazilian Borlenghi was third quickest in the Am category. The afternoon session was affected by heavy rain and the bronze test in the evening reduced to just half an hour due to the weather and then red-flagged because of an accident.
Qualifying for Saturday’s race was dry and it was Costa and Lewandowski who took charge of the VSR Lamborghinis. Costa qualified the Pro car on row six after finding uncooperative traffic on his hot lap and Lewandowski was sixth in Am. A flying first lap at the start of the race from Lewandowski saw him gain four places whilst Costa slipped back in the mid-field melee. He soon became involved in a dice with Breukers who had spun down the order on the opening lap. The pair traded places for several laps before catching up to a train of cars battling for eighth. When the pit window opened Costa was lying twelfth and Lewandowski was running third in Am. On lap sixteen he ceded his Lamborghini to Borlenghi, discounting their success handicap from Estoril, and two laps later Ling took over from Costa. When the pit window closed Ling was tenth and moving up the field, passing Liang and Ramos and gaining a further place when Venturini retired. Borlenghi was making similar progress, overtaking Silva and Kogay to move up the order and retain third in Am. With five minutes to go rain, which had been threatening to start since the formation lap, began to fall heavily around the circuit and the safety car was bought out to take the cars to the chequered flag. Ling’s seventh place was the third points scoring finish in a row for the VSR Pro car while Borlenghi and Lewandowski secured their second consecutive Am podium.
Borlenghi qualified the VSR Am entry third in class for Sunday’s race whilst a broken drive-shaft early in the session forced Ling to start the Pro car from the back of the grid. This didn’t seem to overly bother the Chinese driver who recuperated eight places on an amazing first lap. He carried on pushing and by the end of his stint was up to twelfth, thirty-two seconds behind the race leader. The pit window opened on lap twelve and Borlenghi bought the Am entry in from fourth in class after a solid start to the race. Team-mate Lewandowski once again had a success penalty to discount before he could rejoin the race. A lap later Ling handed the Pro car to Costa. By the time the pit window closed the Brazilian was up to eighth and a handful of laps later moved up to seventh. One of the fastest drivers on the track at the end of the race, Costa was within 0.1 seconds of claiming sixth spot when the chequered flag fell. The fourth points finish in a row for Costa and Ling leaves them eighth in the Championship as we head to Spa for round three next month.