Leipert Motorsport pairing Sebastian Balthasar and Noah Watt claimed their first Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe victory of the season in a tightly-fought opening race of the weekend at Zandvoort. Watt started the #2 Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo second on the grid and profited from a drivethrough penalty for erstwhile leaders Jonathan Cecotto and Kevin Rossel (#7 Novamarine GSM Racing Team) to make it four different winners from the first five races.
After topping qualifying, Cecotto got the jump at the start of the race, leading Leipert Motorsport’s Noah Watt into the first corner, while Target Racing’s Glenn van Berlo narrowly held onto third place amid an attack on either side of the Dutchman, from Oregon Team’s Leonardo Pulcini on the inside and Milan Teekens (Johan Kraan Motorsport) on the outside.
Pulcini tried to find a way around the outside of Van Berlo on the exit of Hugenholtz but was ushered onto the grass and subsequently had to settle for fourth. This, however, became third by the end of the opening lap as van Berlo caught a snap of oversteer coming through the penultimate turn, forcing the Target Racing Huracán to take a trip through the gravel and slipping to ninth.
Another casualty on the first lap was the Leipert Motorsport Am entry of Gabriel Rindone who was involved in an incident with the Bonaldi Motorsport car of Daan Pijl, the latter of which started from the back of the grid following a crash in qualifying.
At the front, Cecotto established a lead of just over a second from Watt, who in turn had a comfortable margin ahead of Pulcini. Watt stayed very much in touch with the Novamarine GSM Racing Team Huracán of Cecotto and clawed back much of the advantage to the leader, just before the safety car was deployed after Pijl went off at the high-speed Schievlak corner, getting beached.
Cecotto maintained his lead upon the restart as Watt slipped into the clutches of Pulcini just as the mandatory driver-change pit-stop window opened. As expected, the leading runners stayed out for as long as possible in order to maximise their pace, but the GSM Racing team instructed Cecotto to stay out one lap longer than Watt, Pulcini and Teekens in an attempt to eke out yet more of a margin.
Unfortunately for Cecotto, the #7 car narrowly missed the end of the pit window closing and was handed a drivethrough penalty – along with a 2.308s post-race time penalty for being under the minimum limit – effectively ending their victory hopes.
The lead battle, therefore, become a straight fight between Balthasar – who had taken over from Watt – Pulcini’s team-mate Kevin Gilardoni and Maxime Oosten, who swapped with Milan Teekens. Oosten, who finished second behind Johan Kraan Motorsport team-mate Max Weering at Monza, was on a mission and perfected a superb divebomb overtake down the inside of Gilardoni under braking for Tarzan to grab third place, which became second after Cecotto’s team-mate Kevin Rossel served the drivethrough penalty for the #7 car.
Oosten produced a valiant effort to challenge Balthasar for the lead on the final lap, as the leading group battled through the backmarkers, but Balthasar was largely in control and came home to win by just over half a second.
Gilardoni and Pulcini claimed the final step on the podium – ahead of Weering and van Berlo’s team-mate Raúl Guzman.
Race winner Sebastian Balthasar (#2 Leipert Motorsport) said: “[a] brilliant [race] for us. Noah prepared me really well and I had a good chance to attack for the win after the safety car and we were able to go for the win. Handling the tyres was very difficult, we wanted more from qualifying but the race was great and that’s exactly what we were looking for.”
Team-mate Noah Watt commented:“I’m very happy, it was a good result for us. Sebastian pulled off a really good move after the safety car [for second] which I am really happy about. I did my best to manage the tyres in the beginning and not overdrive it, and I think I did quite a good job with. Well done to the whole team, we worked a lot on the set-up last night so this win is for them.”
The battle for Pro-Am honours went right down to the wire, with Target Racing interloper and Super Trofeo Europe veteran Kikko Galbiati – alongside Miguel Ramos – just edging the Bonaldi Motorsport entry of Miloš Pavlović and Petar Matić to victory by a quarter of a second.
Points leaders Karol Basz and Andrzej Lewandowski had been in control of the class throughout the race, having started fourth on the grid. Basz held the lead ahead of the pit-stop window before handing over to Lewandowski before an issue forced Lewandowksi into the pits and out of contention. That left Pavlović, who was involved in contact with the other Target Racing car of Andrea Cola which brought out the second safety car – right on the tail of Galbiati and the pair went side-by-side briefly between turns 10 and 11, with Galbiati eventually coming out on top at the finish.
Pavlović and Matić were eventually handed a 30-second post-race time penalty for the contact with Cola, which allowed the Oregon Team pairing of Massimo Ciglia and Gulliem Pujeu-Beya to inherit second place, with Pavlović and Matić relegated to third.
Ray Calvin converted his pole position into a first victory of the season in the Am category following a dominant performance. The Canadian, driving solo, led off the line from team-mate Gabriel Rindone before the latter got tipped into a spin by the Pro car of Daan Pijl on the opening lap. Calvin then maintained his margin either side of the pit window, eventually coming home nearly six seconds clear of Rindone.
In the Lamborghini Cup, it was another victory for the Boutsen Ginion Racing partnership of Pierre Feligioni and Daniel Waszczinski, beating Imperiale Racing’s Hans Fabri by over 12 seconds. Fabri, whose previous best result on home soil was a third place in 2019, had led the early stages but lost out in the pit-stop phase. Feligioni in turn, handed over to Waszczinski, who extended the advantage after the second safety car to comfortably back up their opening weekend win at Monza.
2021 Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe Calendar
Round 1: Monza (Italy), 16-18 April
Round 2: Le Castellet (France), 28-30 May
Round 3: Zandvoort (Netherlands), 18-20 June
Round 4: Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) 29 July-1 August
Round 5: Nürburgring (Germany) 3-5 September
Round 6: Misano Adriatico (Italy), 28-29 October
Lamborghini World Final
Misano Adriatico (Italy), 30-31 October