Lamborghini taste GT Open victory
and score three Blancpain podiums in successful weekend
Emil Frey Racing duo Albert Costa and Giacomo Altoè reclaimed the joint lead of the International GT Open championship with their second victory of the season in the first race at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. Meanwhile, in the sixth round of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe season at Zandvoort, Lamborghini took three podiums in the two races in the Netherlands, with FFF Racing’s Andrea Caldarelli and Marco Mapelli remaining firmly in title contention Saturday in Austria’s Styrian Mountains was a dominant day for the Costa/Altoè partnership, who fought to victory from fifth on the grid to win.
Costa got into second place at the exit of the first corner after Martin Kodric (McLaren), Fabrizio Crestani (Ferrari) and Emil Frey Racing team-mate Mikael Grenier all ran wide while fighting for position. The #63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 remained in second until the mandatory pit-stops but emerged from the stops in the lead by seven seconds over the BMW of Beitske Visser.
From then on, Altoè steadily increased his lead at the front and eventually came home to win by 14.039 seconds. Grenier and team-mate Norbert Siedler had an up-and-down race but still contented themselves with valuable championship points with seventh at the flag. The pair recovered from a drivethrough penalty to finish just 30 seconds adrift of Costa and Altoè who are now tied on points with the Kodric/Henrique Chaves BMW.
Further north at the coastal circuit of Zandvoort in the Netherlands, Andrea Caldarelli and Marco Mapelli maintained their lead at the top of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe standings, despite a somewhat difficult Race 2 for the FFF Racing drivers. Third place behind the Lamborghini squad of Grasser Racing Team in Race 1 and seventh in Race 2 was enough to keep the Italian pairing just 8.5 points adrift of the Black Falcon Mercedes of Luca Stolz and Maro Engel.
Christian Engelhart and Mirko Bortolotti secured a strong pair of second place finishes in their GRT Lamborghini Huracán GT3s, with supreme pit work from the team key to their Race 2 result. The pair leapfrogged both the #1 Audi of Dries Vanthoor/Ezequiel Perez Companc and the #4 Mercedes of Stolz/Engel to take the fight to the race-winning Audi of Christopher Haase/Simon Gachet. The double podium means that Bortolotti and Engelhart are now just 23 points off the top of the standings, heading into the 24 Hours of Spa event in a fortnight’s time.