11.10.2021 – Two pole positions, two fastest laps of the race and two wins missed by a whisker. Imperiale Racing had completed one of the best performances in its history last weekend in Mugello on the occasion of the closing round of the Italian GT Sprint 2021 Championship but, the drivers’ title was missed by a handful of points, despite the remarkable and unquestionable performance put in by Alex Frassineti (ITA) and Luca Ghiotto (ITA) in the #63 Lamborghini Huracàn GT3 Evo.
The commitment of the Mirandola-based team has been complete, both before and during the double challenge that has seen the #63 and the #19 cars on track, the latter driven by Mateo Llarena (GT), who worked to improve his confidence in the GT3 challenger. The event has been exciting since qualifying on Saturday as the #63 car was twice the fastest, which earned Imperiale Racing’s pairing a historic double pole position. Frassineti had the upper hand in Q1 and was the only driver breaking the wall of 1’46s with the best lap completed in 1’45.731s, while Ghiotto topped the charts in Q2 with a great 1’45.094, which was just over the 1’44s mark.
Llarena has also been a protagonist of qualifying in Mugello, despite this being the very first race he ran at this circuit. In Q1 he was eighth overall, third in Pro-Am with his best time of 1’47.195s, while he improved a lot in Q2 stopping the watches after 1’46.659s, which was the sixth-fastest time overall and the third of Pro-Am, just 0.089s short of the pole position of the category.
Frassineti and Ghiotto exchanged driving duties in the order in the #63 Lamborghini Huracàn GT3 Evo running a flawless race. After the great start by Frassineti, the race was stopped for a long time to fix the barriers following an incident that has unfortunately involved Llarena. After the restart, Frassineti kept the lead for the whole stint. The lead was then inherited by Ghiotto, who drove very effectively and posted the fastest lap of the race (1’47.717s). When only a few laps were left to go the safety car was deployed again and it left the track just for the closing lap. Ghiotto kept the lead and secured another crucial win. After the race, Stewards spotted an irregularity at the restart from the final safety car and handed Imperiale Racing’s pairing a 5s time penalty, which relegated them to P2.
The very young driver from Guatemala Mateo Llarena had claimed a great podium in Pro-Am at Misano and was close to P3 in Imola. On this occasion he started the race very well, but then he spun at the Luco corner and was hit by two rivals. Fortunately, the Imperiale Racing’s driver walked out of the big accident unharmed, but the #19 Lamborghini Huracàn GT3 Evo was too damaged to continue the weekend.
After the epilogue of race one and the forced stop of the #19, all Imperiale Racing’s efforts were on race two. Ghiotto’s start was very strong again and the Italian driver kept the lead also after the safety car, finally handing the #63 Lamborghini Huracàn GT3 Evo over to Frassineti in the lead. The driver from Rome completed a spectacular second stint posting also the fastest lap of the race in 1’47.274s. When 13 minutes were still left to go, Frassineti was fighting for P1 and he was on the inside of Mancinelli at the Bucine, but the latter closed the door and the two went into a contact that also involved Comandini. The Huracàn had the worst of it and got a rear right puncture. The unscheduled pit stop relegated the pairing to P8 and placed it out of the fight for the championship, which they ended in the second position.
Luca Del Grosso (Imperiale Racing, Team Manager):
“We had the whole package: the fastest car, the most resolute drivers and the most close-knit team. We all worked united on every little detail to provide Alex and Luca with the fastest car on the track. We got two pole positions, two fastest laps of the race and led the race for virtually all the laps, completing what can be considered one of the best performances in our history. Unfortunately, this was not enough. We certainly deserved the title and I am sorry for the drivers, the staff in the pits, the owner and everyone on track and in Mirandola. I am pretty sure we will have other chances to bounce back, as often happens in sports, but I can honestly say I would have liked heading back home from Mugello with a victory under our belt. I am very happy that Mateo walked out of the incident in race one unharmed. We got scared, but he is a real talent and I hope our sporting adventure will continue next year”.
Italian GT Sprint 2021 Championship
1. Agostini-Ferrari (Audi) pt. 69; 2. Frassineti (Lamborghini) pt. 60; 3. Greco (Ferrari) pt. 59; 4. Mancinelli-Postiglione (Audi) pt. 54; 5. Baruch-Segù (Mercedes-AMG) pt. 53.