Lamborghini Blancpain European Super Trofeo Championship, Nurburgring
For the penultimate round of the European Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Championship Israeli driver Amir Krenzia was joined at VSR by the Pro-Am pairing of Kei Cozzolino and Bar Baruch. Cozzolino drove for VSR in the 2015 championship whilst Baruch is currently contesting the Italian Super GT Cup championship. The pair shared the number 66 Huracán for this weekend’s double header at the Nurburgring.
It was Baruch’s first taste of the German circuit and the Israeli got limited running in the first free practice session which was red-flagged shortly after he took the car over. Cozzolino’s time in the early part of the session was good enough for 6th overall whilst Krenzia set the second fastest time in Am. The encouraging performances were repeated in the second session which saw Cozzolino and Baruch post the 5th fastest time whilst Krenzia topped the Am group despite completing only eight timed laps.
Qualifying for race one saw Cozzolino behind the wheel of the 66 car. The Italian driver set the 7th quickest time of the session and was fastest in the Pro-Am category. Krenzia was the 2nd fastest Am and claimed a starting place on row eleven.
Cozzolino made a flying start and was challenging for 2nd when the 42 car field poured into the first corner. His start was later judged to have been anticipated and the team were awarded a ten second penalty. Cozzolino spent his stint harrying the two Pro cars ahead of him before handing the 66 car over to Baruch, a member of the Lamborghini Young Driver programme, on lap thirteen. Baruch kept pace with the leaders throughout the remainder of the race to ensure that even with the time penalty he and Cozzolino finished 3rd overall and were convincing winners of the Pro-Am category.
Krenzia spent the first half of the race chasing down the leading Am car, Abkhazava. When the pit window opened he was right behind the Artline driver who dived into the pit-lane on lap ten. Krenzia stayed out for one more tour and with clear track put enough of a gap on Abkhazava to overtake him in the pits. Through the second half of the race Krenzia's pace allowed him to pull out a convincing lead and he took the Am victory by 25 seconds, moving to the top of the Am Championship tied with four other drivers.
Baruch, in his first Super Trofeo weekend, qualified in the top ten in Q2 which was red-flagged with three minutes left on the clock. Krenzia was again the 2nd placed AM, finishing the session in 18th overall just ahead of two of his main Championship rivals.
Fog on Sunday morning delayed race two which was eventually started behind the safety car. Baruch held his position and was looking good for another Pro-Am podium for himself and team-mate Cozzolino when he handed the car over to the Italian on lap ten. Cozzolino however was forced to return to the pits with a gearbox problem several laps later and their race was over. Krenzia meanwhile was running 2nd in Am and chose to stay out while his main championship rivals entered the pits. The strategy paid off as racing with a clear track in front of him his pace allowed him to establish a significant lead over the other Am drivers and he took his second win of the weekend. A perfect Nurburgring event for the Alka sponsored Israeli driver means he heads to the final round at the top of the Am Drivers Championship.
The final round of the Championship will be at Valencia at the beginning of November. The Spanish circuit will also host the Super Trofeo World Final during the same weekend.