07.09.2021 – Imperiale Racing had a weekend of mixed feelings at Imola on the occasion of the third round of the Italian GT Sprint 2021 Championship. Alex Frassineti (ITA) and Alberto Di Folco (ITA) ended race one in third place and came close to a splendid win in race two in the #63 Lamborghini Huracàn GT3 Evo in the PRO classification, while Stuart Middleton (GB) and Mateo Llarena (GTM) shared driving duties in the #19 car getting close to the victory of Pro-Am in race one.

The Mirandola-based team worked hard to get the most of its experience and take a strong result. Drivers, team and engineers worked resolutely to optimize the setup of the cars on the challenging up and down hills of the Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit. In Q1 Frassineti qualified the #63 car in P6 completing his best lap after 1’41.041s, while Middleton posted a 1’41.572s that was the third-fastest time of Pro-Am and the tenth overall. Di Folco put in a good performance in Q2 claiming the third-fastest time in 1’40.842s, while Llarena came to the fore in its third weekend in the series posting a good 1’41.773s, which was the fourth of Pro-Am and the eleventh overall.

Frassineti and Di Folco used their experience and grit to complete a good recovery in race one. Frassineti avoided the pitfalls of the initial stages and then lapped on a solid pace that allowed him to gain some positions before the pit stop. Di Folco joined the race in sixth place but at the end of the pit stops he was third and kept the position for the closing 11 laps deserving a podium finish.

Di Folco started race two well and recovered one place keeping then P2 all the way to the pit stop. In the second stint, Frassineti engaged a good battle for the win with Di Amato, but the contact between the two during the lapping of a rival damaged the front left tyre of the #63 Lamborghini Huracàn GT3 Evo. Frassineti heroically kept going until the chequered flag crossing the finish line in P4 and scoring some points that allowed him to stay second in the drivers’ classification.

The team ran a strong race one in Pro-Am too as Middleton recovered up to P5 in the first stint thanks to great overtaking moves and a solid pace. Llarena displayed his talent in the second stint engaging in an exciting battle for P5. At the last lap, when he was leading the category, Llarena was flawlessly involved in an incident when Guidetti hit the back of his car at the Tosa corner, which forced the #19 Lamborghini Huracàn GT3 Evo into the gravel trap as it was very close to taking the win in Pro-Am.

Llarena drove the car through the first stint in race two and recovered several positions installing himself in the overall top ten before the pit stop. Middleton kept the momentum and crossed the finish line in fourth place, but the penalty handed by the Stewards due to an irregularity at the drivers’ change relegated the #19 pairing to the eleventh place, that was the fifth of Pro-Am.

Luca Del Grosso (Team Manager):
“We showed all our competitiveness and resolution again. We had a strong weekend with the #63 car: Alex confirmed to have what it takes to fight for the drivers’ title and Alberto got the right feeling with the team and put in a spectacular performance. I have to be honest though, we got less than what we would have wanted, but this does not go down to our responsibility. Maybe our only mistake was not to fully believe in the chance for the big result. I am sorry that Mateo and Stuart could not get a well-deserved win in Pro-Am at the end of race one. We are running a good championship also with the #19 car and we managed to fight for the win in a very challenging circuit like Imola. I finally congratulate Luca Ghiotto for the good debut in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS at Nürburgring”.

The next round of the Italian GT Sprint 2021 Championship will see Imperiale Racing on the track at Mugello on October 8-10th.

CIGT Sprint Classification
1. Agostini-Ferrari pt. 69; 2. Frassineti pt. 52; 3. Crestani-Greco pt. 50; 4. Di Amato pt. 35; 4. De Luca-Guidetti pt. 35

CIGT Sprint Pro-Am Classification
1. Cecotto-Perolini pt. 81; 2. Mann pt.74; 3. De Luca-Guidetti pt. 65; 4. Segù-Bar pt. 52; 5. Llarena pt. 44