Finns head the Championship as Lewandowski and Myszkowski take debut win
18th June, 2017 – Italian Super GT, Monza
The three regular VSR entries of Liang/Ortiz, Tujula/Vainio and Cazzaniga/D’Amico were joined for the Monza round of the Italian GT Championship by the Polish pairing of Lewandowski/Myskowski who normally compete in the European Lamborghini Super Trofeo Championship.
Qualifying on Saturday morning saw the Finnish couple of Tujula and Vianio reign supreme. The flying Finns claimed pole for both races with Vainio topping the times in Q1, beating Desideri by 0.97 seconds. Cazzaniga was just 0.03 seconds away from joining Vainio on the front row but had to settle for 3rd whilst Liang, who had held pole when the session was red-flagged, finished in 5th. A brush with the wall put an early end to Myszkowski’s session but the Pole still claimed a place on row four for Saturday’s race.
Vainio made a perfect start, keeping Desideri behind him as the field stormed towards the first corner. All the VSR cars had hefty handicaps to serve after the team’s crushing performance in the previous round so strategy dictated that Vainio had to make a clean break and pull out a significant gap to his pursuers. An early safety car made the Finnish driver’s life difficult and when the race got underway again there were just thirty-eight minutes left. Lap by lap he edged away from Desideri who had Championship leader Cazzaniga right on his tail while Liang and Myszkowski were running in 5th and 6th. When the pit window opened Sospiri called in Liang and Cazzaniga. While they served their handicaps of twenty-five and twenty seconds respectively they handed their Lamborghinis to Ortiz and D’Amico. Two laps later Myszkowski pitted and Lewandowski took the wheel of the all-Polish entry. Up front Vainio had built up a five second gap to Desideri but the Italian had no handicap and the ten second handicap served by Vainio ensured that team-mate Tujula rejoined the race in 3rd, behind Desideri’s partner Necchi and Bonacini. With twelve minutes to go the top three were separated by less than one second and behind the battling trio Lewandowski was closing in. Ortiz, recovering from his handicap was back in 7th but one of the fastest men on the track. The Brazilian quickly caught and passed Tempesta and gained a further place when D’Amico made a rare error and spun down to 8th. With seven minutes left on the clock Tujula forced his way past Bonacini to take 2nd but, despite harrying Necchi for the remainder of the race, the young Finn couldn’t find a way past. He took the chequered flag just 01.96 seconds behind Necchi. Lewandowski finished an impressive 4th having closed to within 1.5 seconds of the leaders. Ortiz took 5th and D’Amico 8th.
Qualifying for Sunday’s race saw a close fought battle between Tujula and D’Amico after Ortiz’s early pole time was deleted due to track limits at the Parabolica. With two minutes left to go Tujula got the better of D’Amico and as the seconds ran down Ortiz slotted into 2nd. The times of the three VSR cars were separated by just 0.272 seconds. They didn’t have it all their own way at the start when Basz forced his way into 2nd place after D'Amico was hit from behind by Galbiati. The damage to the VSR Lamborghini was severe enough to force D’Amico to retire from the race. Up front Ortiz was pressing on and began setting fastest laps as he pulled away from Basz who had Tujula right behind him. On lap seven the Finn overtook and moved into second place and behind him Lewandowski, who had qualified 9th with a quickly patched up car, passed Necchi for 6th. With a clear track in front of him Lewandowski showed a fine turn of speed and with no handicap team-mate Myszkowski moved up to third after their driver change. Tujula had a twenty second penalty to serve and his team-mate Vainio fell back to 7th during their pit-stop. Ortiz, with a ten second handicap to serve, was the last to stop, pitting on the same lap as Galbiati who was holding 2nd and had no handicap. Liang took over the car and quickly found himself in the lead when Galbiati’s car stopped. The man on the move in the second half of the race was Vainio, lapping quicker than everyone and setting the fastest lap of the race first on lap fourteen and again on lap eighteen. With ten minutes to go he was up to 4th, just four seconds behind Liang and Myszkowski in 1st and 2nd. A spin from Liang allowed Myszkowski to take the lead and then a two lap safety car period bunched everyone up again. There were just two racing laps left when the track went green but a big shunt between two backmarkers caused an immediate red flag. Myszkowski was confirmed as the victor with Vainio in 3rd and Liang 4th.
After a thrilling weekend at Monza Vainio and Tujula now lead the Championship with Liang and Ortiz five points back in 2nd. After a difficult weekend Cazzaniga and D’Amico are 3rd, tied on points with Desideri but will benefit from no handicap in the next race. The Championship resumes in a month’s time at Mugello but the VSR Lamborghini’s will be back in action next weekend in the Paul Ricard round of the European Lamborghini Super Trofeo Championship where Pro drivers Nemoto and Abbate currently lie 2nd in the Pro Championship, just one point off the lead, Liang and Dreyspring hold 3rd in Pro-Am and Lewandowski and Myszkowski have a twenty-eight point lead in Am.
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