Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Europe (Round 2)
After a successful opening round in Italy, the team and the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo circus headed north to the U.K. for Round 2 of the championship. After successful testing days at both Spa Francorchamps and Silverstone International Circuit, the team felt ready for the upcoming weekend. Similar to the other weekends in the series, there would be two hours of free practice on Friday, two qualifying sessions and race 1 on Saturday, and race 2 on Sunday. Also beginning from this race weekend, car #16 was moved from the Pro-Am category up into the Pro category, based on the duo’s performance and pace at Monza. The #16 Vincenzo Sospiri Racing car of Shinya Michimi and Kei Cozzolino was again running within the top 10 in both free practice sessions on Friday.
As in the first round at Monza, Cozzolino would be in the car for qualifying in the first session for Race 1. Unfortunately, slow traffic hindered his entire 15 minute session, and he was unable to post a clean lap. The car would have to start P18 for race 1 later in the day. Michimi managed to get himself in position for some clean track during qualifying session 2 and was able to post the 6th fastest lap time to put the car on the outside of row 3 for Sunday’s race 2.
Cozzolino was given the duty of starting for race 1 and after the difficult qualifying session, he knew that he had a lot of work ahead to try and gain as many positions as possible to move up from P18 in the first segment of the race. And that’s exactly what he did, getting a great start and making up three positions on the opening lap. By lap nine, he had made his way into the top ten and was preparing to come in for his stop, when he tangled with a back-marker around the new Wing paddock area. As the car came in for the pit stop, the damage was evident with the car missing much of its front left corner. This would hinder the car’s pace on track for the rest of the race. But undeterred by the damage, Michimi managed to bring the car in to finish 10th overall and 7th in class.
After an excellent Q2 by Michimi, the VSR car would start Race 2 in P6 on the outside of row three on the grid. Cozzolino would also take starting duties for Race 2. The track was dry for the start but quickly changed to tricky conditions as light rain began to fall just as the lights went green. Cozzolino made a brilliant overtaking move on the outside of Liberati and Spengler on the start to move into P4 as the field headed towards Becketts. Cozzolino then went to work pulling away from the Spengler-Di Folco battle behind him. By the time the pit window opened, he had managed to pull out a three second gap. The rain began to pick up across the entire circuit as Cozzolino handed the car over to Michimi. Michimi managed the conditions well; however, and proved to be one of the fastest drivers on track in the tricky conditions. He was making ground on the car in P3 hoping to grab the last spot on the podium, but unfortunately time would run out for the Japanese-American driver and he would have to settle for P4. He finished the twenty-four lap race in 4th place, a full ten seconds ahead of the car in P5.
Shinya: “Well, we certainly didn’t have the weekend like we had in Monza. We were a bit off the pace from the top group all weekend, but the team is working hard to get to the bottom of the issue to resolve it for the rest of the season. Race 1 was a huge struggle because of the damaged front. We were down on grip in the high speed corners as well as down on straight-line speed. Race 2 was quite enjoyable, as light rain conditions with slick tires is one of my favorite conditions to drive in. I really enjoyed the Silverstone circuit, and I really hope to race here again in the future. Let’s see how things go at the next round in Paul Ricard.”
The third weekend of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo European series will take place in the south of France at the famous Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track.