Dutchman Kroes victorious on home soil
Bonaldi Motorsport pairing Danny Kroes and Sergei Afanasiev delivered a near-perfect performance to claim their first Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe race win of the season in the opening encounter at Zandvoort.
The #3 Huracán Evo led away from pole position with home favourite Kroes staving off an attack from the Imperiale Racing car of joint championship leader Kikko Galbiati round the outside of Tarzan for the first time. Second-row starters Karol Basz (Imperiale Racing) and Niels Lagrange (Leipert Motorsport) held station in third and fourth, while Jack Bartholomew (Bonaldi Motorsport) leapfrogged the #66 Micanek Motorsport of Josef Zaruba for fifth.
Kroes quickly opened up a lead of nearly two-and-a-half seconds ahead of the mandatory pit-stop window as Galbiati had to defend heavily from team-mate Basz in the first stint. Basz was all over the back of Galbiati at Hugenholtzbocht and even tapped the back of the #44 as the pair exited the corner.
With overtaking opportunities limited on the twisty Dutch circuit, Basz was forced to remain in third place, but was released into clear air when Galbiati pitted as the window opened with half an hour to go. Shota Abkhazava (ArtLine Team Georgia), Davide Venditti (Target Racing), Nicolas Gomar (AGS Events), Mikko Eseklinen (Leipert Motorsport) and Steven Liquorish (ArtLine Team Georgia) also chose to take their stops at the first opportunity. Basz brought the #8 Imperiale Racing machine into the pits two laps after Galbiati and rejoined, with Bartosz Paziewski at the wheel, in front of Postiglione.
Meanwhile, Kroes continued to extend the #3’s lead out front and swapped with Afanasiev with 24 minutes remaining; the Russian remained comfortably in the lead as Postiglione began to challenge Paziewski for second. Paziewski, a race winner in the opening round at Silverstone, impressively held off countless attacks from Postiglione, but slid off track at Sievlak with 11 minutes to go.
The Pole dropped behind both Postiglione and the #32 Bonaldi car of Middleton, who inherited third place at the finish. Having started sixth, the #32 with Bartholomew on board made good ground and ran a strong fifth place early on behind Lagrange. Quick pit work ensured Middleton rejoined ahead of the Belgian, with Paziewski’s late excursion handing the British pairing their third podium of the year.
Afanasiev maintained his lead at the front but fell into the clutches of Postiglione towards the end after momentarily running off at the Audi “S” Bocht chicane, Postiglione closed to within half a second on the final lap but could not mount a serious attack to snatch victory. Paziewski and Basz finished fourth, ahead of Anthony Lambert and the returning Alberto di Folco.
The Pro-Am class battle was a tale of two stints, with series newcomer Kang Ling in the #21 GT3 Poland Huracán running a superb eighth overall ahead of the pit-stops before handing over to Grzegorz Moczulski. They were being chased by the out-of-position #12 ArtLine Team Georgia car of Abkhazava and Harald Schlegelmilch. A solid second stint from Schlegelmilch allowed the Latvian driver to carve through the field and make the most of an off-track moment for Moczulski to claim a second class win.
Robert Zwinger took the Am class victory, despite receiving a +0.294s time penalty for a pit-stop infringement. The GT3 Poland driver beat Paul Harkena (Target Racing) to the line, while Benoît Semoulin (Semspeed) claimed Lamborghini Cup honours by just +0.8 seconds from Joseph Collado and local driver Hans Fabri.