21.09.2021 – A positive performance highlighted the quality of Imperiale Racing at the third round of the Italian GT Endurance 2021 Championship held in Vallelunga, even though it did not convert into the expected result. Alberto Di Folco (ITA), Andrea Amici (ITA) and Stuart Middleton (GB) ended the race in eighth place in their #63 Lamborghini Huracàn GT3 Evo after fighting for the podium for a long time, while Antoine Bottiroli (CH), Paul August (LT) and Jaromir Jirik (CZ) took P2 in the #19 car at the debut in the AM category.
It has not been an easy weekend due to the technical difficulties of the Piero Taruffi racetrack, which is one of the most challenging of the season, but also for the challenge of all the rivals in a crucial moment of the season. The whole team worked hard to prepare the three-hour-long race in the best possible way, studying the setup in its smallest details and training for the pit stops on Sunday evening, but the competition on track has been fierce.
Middleton got on track for Q1 and posted his fastest time in 1’32.107s, which was the eighth fastest lap. In Q2, Amici set a good 1’32.314s that was the third fastest of the session, while Di Folco ended qualifying with a 1’31.800s, which was the fourth fastest of Q3. Overall, the #63 car qualified in third place with a combined time of 4’36.221s.
The #19 car had a great debut as it qualified second in AM and thirteenth overall. Each of the three drivers posted the second time of the AM category in the respective sessions, which showed a growing feeling with the Lamborghini Huracàn GT3 Evo. Bottiroli’s best time was a 1’33.599s in Q1, August completed his best loop after 1’37.753s in Q2, while Jirik set a 1’35.420s in Q3.
Middleton started the race in the #63 challenger and kept P3 for the first ten laps before a contact forced him to concede a few positions. The British driver bounced back though and handed the car over to his co-equiper Amici in P6. The Italian driver limited the effects of the handicap time that the team had to serve at the pitstop following the results of the previous rounds. In the closing stint, Di Folco battled for the podium until the closing lap when he crossed the finish line in P4. A 10s time penalty handed by Stewards due to a contact in the heat of the closing stages relegated Imperiale Racing’s drivers to the eighth place. Amici-Di Folco-Middleton are now third in the drivers’ classification at 35 points, which is 5 short of the top, without considering the results to be discarded.
The #19 drivers secured a remarkable podium in AM. Bottiroli-August-Jirik had a great debut in a race and a championship confirming their high levels also in Vallelunga. The great job done by engineers to refine the setup allowed the three drivers to run a solid race, taking the result that Imperiale Racing set ahead as its objective and showing a great crescendo in the race.
Luca Del Grosso (Team Manager):
“This has been a demanding weekend and Imperiale Racing has been fighting again for the podium and the championship. We ran a good race with both cars, even if we struggled more than expected. We were not far from the front row with the #63 car and, despite the 40s time handicap that we had to serve at the pit stop, the guys on track put in a great progression. The final result does not mirror what we could have achieved, but as always we will fight until the end also in Monza. The #19 drivers deserve a round of applause as they completed the race without mistakes, increasing their pace and feeling in the Lamborghini Huracàn GT3 Evo”.
Imperiale Racing will be back on track on the occasion of the Italian GT Endurance 2021 Championship next October 29-31 for the closing round in Monza.
Italian Gran Turismo Endurance Championship | Drivers’ classification
1. Drudi, Ferrari, Agostini pt. 40; 2. Fisichella, Gai, Zampieri pt. 37; 3. Amici, Di Folco, Middleton pt. 35; 4. Schreiner, Fuoco pt. 26; 5. Mann pt. 18