|Lamborghini secured its first FIA GT1 World Championship race victory at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, last Sunday. Former Formula One driver Ricardo Zonta and team-mate Frank Kechele guided the Reiter Engineering #25 Lamborghini Murciélago 670 R-SV around the historic circuit to claim the team and the marque’s first win in the championship, 3.253 seconds ahead of the #3 Triple H Team Hegersport Maserati MC12.|
Zonta set the second fastest lap time during Friday’s Qualifying Race to put the #25 Lamborghini Murciélago on the front row for today’s Championship Race. The #38 All-Inkl.com Münnich Motorsport Lamborghini, piloted by Nicky Pastorelli, secured fifth place on the grid, while the second Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Murciélago of Peter Kox and Christopher Haase lined up seventh.
At the start, Brazilian driver Zonta’s main goal was to pass the #11 Corvette: a feat that he accomplished on the first lap. Having started the race on used tyres, the Reiter Engineering driver had to look after degradation but still managed to hold onto the lead for the opening laps before he was passed by fellow Lamborghini driver Kox in the #24 Lamborghini Murciélago. Pastorelli made his way through the field up to third, giving Lamborghini 1-2-3 in the order with Kox in the lead. During the pit-stops, Zonta handed the #25 over to team-mate Kechele, who re-emerged with just the #5 Ford GT ahead. Kechele set off in pursuit, chasing it down and passing for the lead with three laps of the race remaining.
The German driver maintained his position until the chequered flag to claim a memorable victory for both Lamborghini and Reiter Engineering. “It’s a great feeling to win,” said Zonta. “This is a very important victory for us. I feel very connected with the Reiter Engineering team and even more so after this win. I was pushing very hard on the first few laps as I knew that the other cars had new tyres. Mine were wearing down so I made an early pit-stop: Frank took over and did a great job to finish first.” Automobili Lamborghini’s Director of Brand and Design, Manfred Fitzgerald, added: “The team has put a huge amount of effort into this project and it has really paid off today. They have done a fantastic job and we’re extremely proud of the result.”
The #38 All-Inkl.com Münnich Motorsport Lamborghini, piloted by German driver Dominik Schwager following the pit-stops, crossed the finish line ninth. Meanwhile, the #24 Lamborghini Murciélago 670 R-SV was forced to retire from the race following the driver change due to an engine problem.
Round six of the FIA GT1 World Championship will take place at the Nürburgring, Germany, on 26-29 August.
1. Kechele/Zonta (#25), Lamborghini Murcielago 670-4 R-SV, 1:01:02.392
2. Heger/Müller (#33), Maserati MC12, + 3.253
3. Mutsch/Westbrook (#5), Ford GT Matech, + 6.675
4. Ramos/Bernoldi (#2), Maserati MC12, + 7.074
5. Makowiecki/Accary (#9), Aston Martin DB9, + 7.936
6. Enge/Turner (#7), Aston Martin DB9, + 8.274
7. Bartels/Bertolini (#1), Maserati MC12, + 9.741
8. Verdonck/Longin (#34), Maserati MC12, + 10.591
9. Schwager/Pastorelli (#38), Lamborghini Murcielago 670-4 R-SV, + 10.784
1 GT1 Andrea Bertolini 83
1 GT1 Michael Bartels 83
2 GT1 Thomas Mutsch 77
3 GT1 Romain Grosjean 62
4 GT1 Frank Kechele 46
5 GT1 Altfrid Heger 43
6 GT1 Ricardo Zonta 42
7 GT1 Frédéric Makowiecki 40
8 GT1 Marc Hennerici 40
9 GT1 Thomas Accary 38
10 GT1 Peter Dumbreck 37