Class victory for VSR
Brazilian Giulio Borlenghi and Polish Andrej Lewandowski top the International GT Open AM standings, as they took a fine class victory in race two at Estoril after finishing fourth on Saturday’s race one for VSR team.
The Vincenzo Sospiri Team’s PRO car finished sixth in race one and fourth in race two putting the other Brazilian Nicolas Costa and Chinese youngster Kang Ling in fourth place in the overall standings.
With three of the four VSR drivers never having raced on the Portuguese circuit, the first weekend of the International GT Open was a learning curve for the team. Behind the wheels of the two VSR Lamborghinis for Saturday morning’s qualifying session were Ling and Lewandowski. Under threatening skies Ling claimed a place on row six, just 0.2 seconds outside a top ten start, whilst Lewandowski was second fastest in the AM class. The sun was shining by the time the twenty-two car grid assembled on Saturday afternoon and when the lights went out a mistake from Breukers at the third corner caused chaos. Both VSR cars received hits from other drivers as they took action to avoid the Rik Breukers’ car but managed to escape without serious damage. By lap five Ling was running comfortably in ninth and Lewandowski was the second placed Am in fourteenth. As laptimes stabilised Ling began chasing down Raffaele Giammaria and Fabrizio Crestani ahead of him, earning a place when the two tangled just as the pit window opened. Ling handed over to Costa on lap eighteen and two laps later Lewandowski bought in his Lamborghini for Borlenghi. The AM entry was slow away as damage from the start lengthened the pit-stop and hopes of a debut podium for Borlenghi and Lewandowski were lost. By lap thirty Costa was running in seventh place but under pressure from Fioraventi. The pair diced hard until they caught up with the sixth placed car of West. Costa took the position cleanly while Damiano Fioravanti took some laps to get past giving the VSR driver a chance to pull away. As the race drew to a close Fioraventi was once more right behind Costa but the Brazilian held him off to take the chequered flag just 0.4 seconds ahead.
Costa and Borlenghi qualified the cars for race two in a wet session on Sunday morning. Costa’s best lap was good enough for a place on the inside of row four and Borlenghi set the third fastest time in the AM class. The circuit was dry again for the race and Costa made a good start, passing two cars, only to lose three places when he was tapped by Riccardo Agostini halfway round the first lap. A lap later he was back to eighth after passing Konrad’s Mercedes and quickly caught up the battle for sixth. On lap eleven he overtook Allam Khodair and three laps later wrested sixth place from Konstantins Calko. When the pit window opened, Borlenghi, who had just passed Liang and was running fourth in AM, pitted to hand his Lamborghini over to Lewandowski. Two laps later Costa handed over to Ling and when the pit window closed the Chinese driver was in fourth place. For most of his stint he had Andrea Montermini right behind him and the pair’s dice enlivened the final quarter race of the race. Despite the rapid Italian’s experience Ling didn’t falter and kept the Ferrari behind him. The two were the fastest men on track in the closing stages and Ling took the chequered flag in fourth, just 0.126 seconds clear of Montermini. Lewandowski charged through the field in his stint in the VSR Am entry, passing Alexander Hrachowina and Miro Konopka on his way to take class honours.
The Estoril results leave VSR at the top of the AM standings and fourth overall with Costa and Ling. The next round of the International GT Open will be held at Paul Ricard on 4th, 6th May.