19.09.2022 – Imperiale Racing had an exciting weekend in Vallelunga, which hosted the third round of the Italian Endurance GT Championship 2022, claiming an amazing P3 overall and securing the Pro-Am victory.

The result of the Mirandola-based team has been a great team effort: it has been clear proof of the determination of drivers, mechanics and engineers that produced a perfect mix allowing Raúl Guzmán Marchina (MEX), Daan Pijl (NL) and Mateo Llarena (GTM) to gain eight places in the #6 Lamborghini Huracàn GT3 Evo and the rookies James Roe Jr. (IRL), Sebastian Balthasar (GER) and Riccardo Ponzio (ITA) to lead the #9 car to a deserved win in Pro-Am and P6 overall.

Despite the spectacular epilogue, the weekend has been quite tough for Imperiale Racing and the preparation work done ahead of the event both on track and at the simulator did not immediately reward the efforts of both drivers’ lineups that had to work hard in free practice. Qualifying has been particularly intense and quite eventful.

In Q1 Guzmán Marchina qualified the #6 car in P4 (1’32.533s), while Llarena in Q2 struggled to put together his best sectors and had to settle for P11 in 1’33.260s. The third time posted by Pijl (1’32.014s) in Q3 placed the lineup in P5, but a penalty handed to the #6 car at the end of the day relegated it to the start from P11.

The single-lap performance of the #9 car has been positive too. Ponzio was ninth overall and fourth of Pro-Am (1’33.172s) in Q1, Balthasar was ninth again overall and fifth of Pro-Am in Q2 (1’33.028s), while Roe was fifth overall and third of Pro-Am in Q3 (1’32.511s). Overall, the #9 car was tenth and third of Pro-Am on the starting grid.

The race has been an exciting recovery for both lineups. In the #6 car, the drivers followed the same order of qualifying. In the first stint, the two cars were nearly always close with each other until the first pit stop, when Guzmán Marchina handed the car over to Llarena. The young driver from Guatemala recovered several places and the momentum was kept in the third hour with Pijl behind the wheel. The Dutch driver got the most out of not having to serve any handicap time and climbed up the classification overtaking the #19 car when three laps were still to go. This move allowed him to get on the third step of the podium after a nine-place comeback.

The race of the #9 car has been as positive. Roe started the race and the progression of the three drivers has been constant in all stints. This solid pace allowed the drivers to gain several places in the two hours of the race. Ponzio drove the car in the middle stint and reached P4, while Balthasar rounded off a spectacular win in Pro-Am and P6 overall with his constant pace.

Luca Del Grosso (Team Manager):
“After the race in Mugello – which has been somehow quite tough on us – and after the end result of qualifying, I have been pretty honest with the boys in the pre-race briefing: we needed to stay out of troubles. I am happy about the cool mindset and the constancy of performance put in by everyone and, thanks also to the work of mechanics and engineers, we completed a remarkable race. Raúl, Mateo and Daan successfully accomplished one of the best recoveries of the last few years, while Riccardo, Sebastian and James bounced back from the disappointment of Mugello confirming their great feeling. We proved that one must never give up even when things get tough; we believed in ourselves from lights to flags and obtained a great result. Everything clicked and we had the right amount of good fortune too, but this is part of the game and makes us positive ahead of the closing round of the season in Monza. Everything can still happen also for the championship”.

Imperiale Racing will be back on track for the Italian GT Endurance 2022 Championship next October 6-9 for the closing round at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.

Drivers’ classification after round 3 in Vallelunga
1. Beretta-Liberati-Nemoto pt.42
2. Basz-Hites-Michelotto pt. 41
3. Guzman-Pijl pt. 31
4. Cabezas-Guidetti-Moncini pt. 27
5. Llarena pt. 24

2022 Calendar
Round 1: Pergusa – May 12-15
Round 2: Mugello – July 14-17
Round 3: Vallelunga – September 15-18
Round 4: Monza – October 6-9