18.07.2022 – A great P3 is Imperiale Racing’s result at Mugello, the circuit that has staged the second round of the Italian GT Championship Endurance 2022. Raúl Guzmán Marchina (MEX), Daan Pijl (NL) and Mateo Llarena (GTM) run a concrete and flawless race that ended in a deserved podium.
Imperiale Racing’s weekend started off a bit steep especially due to the circuit conditions for both cars – the #6 Lamborghini Huracàn GT3 Evo and the sister car #9, the rookie of the Series with James Roe Jr. (IRL), Sebastian Balthasar (GER) and Riccardo Ponzio (ITA). In the second free practice session, all drivers started to improve their performance and geared up for qualifying.
In the three sessions that defined the starting grid the #9 car claimed the best performance for Imperiale Racing taking P5 and confirming the great potential of the rookie lineup. In Q1, Roe was fifth (1’48.062s), Balthasar seventh in Q2 (1’48.897s) and Ponzio sixth in Q3 (1’48.257s) which confirmed a third-row start after qualifying.
The eighth place on the grid, with a bit of bad luck, is the result of the combined time of the #6 car. Pijl got off to a great start in Q1 posting a 1’47.074s, which was the third fastest time. Q2 has been tougher and Guzman had to abort his fastest lap two times due to red flags when he was on a predicted time worth of the top 3. Llarena put in a great performance in Q3. The driver from Guatemala posted the best time in 1’47.407s, which was the second fastest time overall.
The race had opposite outcomes for the two cars. The #6 has been a great protagonist with all the three drivers exchanging driving duties in the Lamborghini Huracàn GT3 Evo in the order Pijl, Llarena and Guzman. The progression of the three drives has been very effective with Pijl and Llarena keeping contact with the podium positions and Guzman claiming a good P3, the maiden podium in the Endurance season 2022, in the closing hour.
The grit of the #9 was also very high and devised an attack strategy. The melee after the start had a bad outcome as Balthasar had to retire after an unlucky exit in the gravel trap.
Luca Del Grosso (Team Manager):
“We are obviously very happy with the podium taken in Mugello with Daan, Mateo and Raùl. They did a great job, the team devised the best strategies and we proved to have a great potential to fight for the top. It was not easy, but we managed all the racing stages while keeping our cool and the result rewarded the efforts of the team. I am really very sorry for the outcome of the #9 car, Sebastian, Riccardo and James had the right focus and knew they could be among the protagonists. All the data gathered over the weekend confirmed that the performance was there for a great result in Pro-Am and to come to the fore in the overall classification, but we paid the fee for some small imperfections. This is racing, our focus is already on the next round”.
Imperiale Racing will get back on track in the Italian GT Championship Endurance Series next September 15-18 in Vallelunga.