05.07.2022 – It has been a challenging, tough and memorable weekend for Imperiale Racing at the Misano World Circuit, where the team based in Mirandola made it onto the track on July 1-3 in the third round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup and in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe.
The debut in the most famous and prestigious series for GT cars, in its Sprint version, has confirmed the remarkable value of Imperiale Racing team that has been motivated since the beginning to leave its mark thanks also to the grit of Alberto di Folco (ITA) and Albert Costa (ESP) in the #663 Lamborghini Huracàn GT3 Evo.
The first contact with this series was on Thursday on the occasion of the opening test. The actual time comparison started on Friday with the two free practice sessions, where the team improved its pace a lot being also the fastest Lamborghini on the track in FP1.
The experience built on the track in the Italian GT Championship allowed Alberto di Folco to be among the protagonists in the first qualifying session as the Italian driver battled for the top posting the fifth-fastest time. A penalty due to track limits (that was handed to several drivers) prevented him from completing his best lap and the #663 Lamborghini Huracàn GT3 Evo qualified therefore in twenty-fifth place.
Due to such a back start, the drivers used all the potential of the package to bounce back. Despite the circuit of Misano being well recognized to be one of the most difficult tracks for overtaking, Di Folco first and Costa then managed to get 12 places back and crossed the finish line in P13, not very far from the top ten.
On Sunday morning Costa put in a good performance in Q2 qualifying the #663 car in P13 with a best time of 1:31.831s. The small gaps saw him just missing out to slide into the fourth row of the grid. The race was again configured to aim for another recovery. The Spanish driver has been very skilled in avoiding mistakes in the heat of the start and then recovered some ground. After the pit stop, which does not have a set time to respect but rewards the fastest pits in the GT World Championship, Di Folco continued the race at a great pace and crossed the finish line with the #663 Lamborghini Huracàn GT3 Evo in seventh place.
The weekend of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe has been more difficult with Manuel Bejarano (ESP) in the #89 Lamborghini Huracàn Super Trofeo Evo and Hans Fabri (NL) in the #88 car.
A puncture in Q1 did not allow Bejarano to end his best lap and the Spanish driver had therefore to start from the back of the grid. Hans Fabri also had a troubled day and had to give up for the rest of the weekend at the end of free practice switching the focus to the next racing weekend.
In race one, Bejarano completed a nice recovery. Despite the difficult and unusual conditions – the race started at local 20:00 and therefore was run in the evening’s dark – the young rookie recovered up to P10, which was P6 in PRO Cup.
On Sunday, he ended qualifying in P11, with the best time of 1’35.214s, which was the sixth-fastest lap in PRO Cup. Bejarano kept the momentum running a strong race, which would have rewarded his efforts with a good result, but a contact voided his performance and made him slip down to P23, which was P7 in PRO Cup.
Luca Del Grosso (Team Manager):
“We are certainly happy about this debut in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup. We had a lot of pressure, but the desire to do well had the best. I want to thank the drivers, engineers, mechanics and all the staff. Ending in the top ten is a great satisfaction, the seventh place in race two makes us proud and the pace shown in qualifying proved that we have a very good package. I am sorry for the less brilliant weekend in the Super Trofeo, but maybe we paid the fee for some episodes. All in all, things did not go as we would have wanted. We will be back with a lot of motivation for the round of Spa-Francorchamps”.
Imperiale Racing will be back on track next July 14-17 for the second round of the Italian GT Endurance Series at the Circuit of Mugello. The Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe will then follow on July 28-30 in Spa-Francorchamps (B).