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Luzich & SPS Take Silverstone Victories

Success for Ferrari and AMG

Luzich Racing and SPS Automotive took an overall victory apiece at the International GT Open’s Silverstone race weekend.

For the Luzich Racing squad, it was its third Ferrari 488 GT3, the #52 driven by Daniel Serra and Marco Cioci, that took to the top of the timing sheets on Saturday.

In Qualifying, Serra took pole position by a mere 0.093 seconds. The Brazilian driver narrowly bettered the time of Rik Breukers in the #25 Imperiale Lamborghini, who lined up second for the 70-minute race.

The second row of the grid was filled by the #47 Teo Martin BMW of Fran Rueda and the #63 Imperiale Lamborghini of 2017 GT Open champion Giovanni Venturini.

Race 1:

As the race got underway, Serra maintained his lead, while  fellow front-row starter Breukers also held his place off the rolling start. Fran Rueda slotted into third in the #47 Teo Martin BMW.

Further back in the pack, at Vale, Alexander West (#71 Luzich Racing Ferrari) hopped across the Vale kerbs and clipped Ricardo Baptista (#41 Drivex Mercedes), which sent the PRO-AM class 488 GT3 into a spin and down to the bottom of the field.

While the top two broke away from the order in the early going, with Serra building the gap at upwards of a second a lap, Rueda soon found himself as the cork in the bottle to the chasing pack behind, including the other two Imperiale Lamborghinis, the #51 Luzich Ferrari of Alessandro Pier Guidi and the #33 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari behind.

However, throughout his stint, Rueda held off the chasing pack led by Giovanni Venturini.

After the pitstops, the PRO-AM #33 Rinaldi Ferrari of Steve Parrow led the way. However, Parrow, the gentleman element of the line-up, soon found himself under fire from Marco Cioci (#52 Luzich Racing Ferrari) and the chasing pack and had to yield almost immediately.

With 22 minutes left to run, Giuseppe Cipriani (#28 Daiko Lazarus Lambo) spun on the exit of Club, sending the likes of Riccardo Agostini (#25 Imperiale Lamborghini) and Juan Cruz Álvarez (#3 Teo Martin BMW) scattering in avoidance. Miraculously, the five cars that were following all avoided Cipriani.

It was a dramatic race for Cipriani, who would later spin while trying to battle with Steve Parrow at Brooklands, forcing Allam Khodair (#16 Drivex Mercedes) to take evasive action.

In the final stages of the race, Jeroen Mul (#63 Imperiale Lamborghini) closed up on Cioci, but ultimately, the Italian driver in the Luzich Ferrari took the win over the Dutchman.

Andrés Saravia (#47 Teo Martin BMW) would finish third, ahead of Alex Frassineti (#12 Ombra Lamborghini) and championship leader Mikkel Mac (#51 Luzich Ferrari).

Oliver Wilkinson (#96 Optimum Audi) took PRO-AM honours ahead of David Perel (#333 Rinaldi Ferrari), while the #66 Vincenzo Sospiri Racing Lamborghini would take AM victory with Giulio Borlenghi taking the flag.

Race 2:

On Sunday, lights-to-flag victory was the order of the day once more. It was an all PRO-AM, all Mercedes AMG GT3 front row thanks to the efforts of pole-sitter Tom Onslow-Cole (#20 SPS Automotive Mercedes) and Allam Khodair (#16 Drivex Mercedes).

Jeroen Mul (#63 Imperiale Lamborghini) lined up third alongside Fabrizio Crestani (#27 Daiko Lazarus Lamborghini).

Off the start, Crestani moved up to second while Onslow-Cole maintained the lead. As the field sorted itself through the exit of Becketts, Jiantong Lang (#19 Imperiale Lamborghini) was spit out of the pack and into the grass on the Hangar Straight. He continued after only just clipping the Armco. The #96 Optimum Audi of Oliver Wilkinson was found to be the culprit and was given a ten second time penalty.

By the end of lap one, Crestani was demoted to third by Khodair, meanwhile, Onslow-Cole took advantage of the squabbling to claim a near-three second lead by the end of the first lap.

With 15 minutes of the race starting, Onslow-Cole had an 8.5 second advantage, the Brit continued to push the SPS Mercedes to the limit to try and build the biggest gap possible for gentleman co-driver Valentin Pierburg.

Rik Breukers (#25 Imperiale Lamborghini) and both PRO class Luzich Ferraris were among the early pitters once the mid-race window opened.  Onslow-Cole pitted with just under 26 minutes to go, and once Pierburg took the #20 SPS Mercedes on-track, he had 11 seconds over fellow PRO-AM runner Marcelo Hahn in the #16 Drivex Mercedes, and nearly 22 seconds over third-placed Giovanni Venturini (#63 Imperiale Lamborghini).

As the race continued, it became clear that Pierburg had enough of a lead to take victory. However, on the penultimate lap, Hahn came under pressure from Venturini. However, before the Italian could attack, Hahn went straight on as they passed the wing pit exit with a suspension failure.

Pierburg would ultimately take the win by 6.8 seconds over Venturini, with Damiano Fioravanti (#12 Ombra Lamborghini) finishing third. Alessandro Pier Guidi (#51 Luzich Racing Ferrari) would finish fourth and round out the PRO class top three.

Miguel Ramos (#27 Daiko Lazarus Lamborghini) would finish eighth overall and second in PRO-AM, ahead of Stefano Constantini (#90 Target Racing Lamborghini). For Ramos and teammate Fabrizio Crestani, their 12-point haul from the weekend was enough to extend their points lead to five in PRO-AM, ahead of Onslow-Cole and Pierburg.

AM honours for race two would go to Andrzej Lewandowski in the #66 Vincenzo Sospiri Lamborghini, who also extended their points lead in class to 10, with a total of 60. ARC Bratislava kingpin Miro Konôpka lies second in the AM table.

Following Silverstone, Luzich Racing’s Mikkel Mac now holds 86 points in the overall championship, some nine clear of Teo Martin BMW duo Fran Rueda and Andrés Saravia.