Sbirrazzouli and Ruberti Earn First Victory of Season
Supercross star Chad Reed records second win of season after late pass by teammate Justin Price
Danville, Va. -- Round 7 of Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America started under tricky conditions due to a wet track from rain that hit the region of southern Virginia Saturday.
The race started under yellow due to those conditions, and the 16-car field was on slick tires. These conditions were an advantage for the more experienced drivers in the field to navigate the 17-turn, 3.27-mile VIRginia International Raceway circuit.
A seven-minute caution period started the 50-minute race, before former Super Trofeo champion Shinya Michimi (No. 46 Precision Performance Motorsports, Lamborghini Palm Beach) led the field to the green flag. He assumed the lead for the first few laps of the race on the challenging layout.
He held the overall, and Pro Class, lead for three laps before Richy Antinucci (No. 29 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte) cut to the inside and passed him in Turn 1. The four-car Pro Class was tightly spaced for the next few minutes of the race until Andrea Amici (No. 1 Prestige Performance / Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus) made contact with Michimi around Turn 11. That allowed Cedric Sbirrazzouli in the No. 27 Dream Racing, Lamborghini Dallas entry to move into second place.
As the mandatory pit window opened with 30 minutes remaining, Antinucci still held the lead as he pulled in to turn his car over to Corey Lewis with 28 minutes to go. The No. 27 stayed out and ended up pitting late in the window as Paolo Ruberti took over the wheel.
After that cycle was complete, Ruberti was in the lead and worked hard over the last 20 minutes to hold off Lewis. The lead was less than a second for most of the next 10-12 minutes, and then Lewis made a bold move at the end of the back straightaway with seven minutes to go. Ruberti pushed him out of the way through as they moved through traffic and held onto the lead and he drove the car to their first victory of the season. Michimi and his teammate Brandon Gdovic finished in third.
Early in the race in the Pro-Am Class, Patrick Liddy held an early lead in the No. 24 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini La Jolla entry. As the pit window opened, the season’s class leader – the No. 09 entry from US RaceTronics and Lamborghini Vancouver - was the first to pit and Damon Ockey turned over to Jacob Eidson. He took no time in assuming the lead and slowly pulled ahead for their sixth win in seven races.
Liddy and Ron Atapattu finished second while William Hubbell and Bruno Junqueria in the No. 69 Prestige Performance / Wayne Taylor Racing entry was third.
The Am Class once again featured a battle between two young drivers in Steven Aghakhani (No. 6 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Beverly Hills) and Madison Snow (No. 63 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte). Aghakhani, the 16-year-old held the early lead and was first to pit with 27 minutes to remaining.
Following the pit window, Snow assumed a slim class lead until Aghakhani spun in Turn 11 with 18 minutes remaining. From there, Snow held a comfortable lead for the remainder of the race to earn his fourth class win of the season. Sheena Monk in the No. 7 Dream Racing, Lamborghini Palmyra finished in third.
The LB Cup perhaps provided the most drama of the race, as Chad Reed in the No. 22 Dream Racing, Lamborghini Atlanta entry enjoyed an early class lead before Thomas Lovelady overtook him in the class-leading No. 08 entry from GMG Racing, Lamborghini Newport Beach, shortly before both cars stopped in the mandatory pit window.
Lovelady turned the car over to class leader Mel Johnson, and he remained in the lead for most of the second half of the race – until the end.
Justin Price took over for Reed and had stayed close to Johnson. On the last lap, he made a late move to overtake the No. 08 and go on to earn the second victory for him and his partner, the Supercross star who is in his first year of Super Trofeo.
Ashton Harrison and Stephanie Cemo in the No. 43 Prestige Performance / Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus continued their strong season with a third-place finish.
The weekend of racing at VIR for Super Trofeo concludes Sunday with another 50-minute race starting at 10:15 a.m. EDT. The race can be streamed on IMSA.tv or squadracorse.lamborghini.com/live-streaming with IMSA Radio commentary. NBCSN will be broadcasting this round from VIR on Wednesday, Sept. 4 at 6 p.m. EDT.
What They Said
Cedric Sbirrazzuoli - No. 27 Dream Racing, Lamborghini Dallas
“The start was quite tricky. I didn’t want to make any mistakes and risk it in the first few laps. I knew the car was strong in the dry and I was waiting for the conditions to improve. I saw an opportunity as the cars ahead of me were battling and I was waiting to take advantage of that situation. I managed to pass both and was able to catch the leader. At that point, it was too risky to overtake right before the pit window opened, so we were able to give Paolo a clear track to take the lead.”
Paolo Ruberti - No. 27 Dream Racing, Lamborghini Dallas
“That was a good battle with Corey. We had some touching together and we can be proud to be the winners today.”
Damon Ockey – No. 09 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Vancouver
“It was a great race. It started out a little damp, so on slicks it was definitely slippery. The first three of our laps were treacherous. I brought it in a decent place for Jake for him to take over and put down some hot laps.
Jacob Eidson - No. 09 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Vancouver
“It was pretty smooth sailing for me today. Damon had an awesome start and we had no drama around the driver change. We had a great car and I couldn’t ask for much more.”
McKay Snow - No. 63 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte
“It was a slippery track out there on dry tires. The first half of the race I was trying to get heat in the tires and playing it safe. My contender was right in front of me and I was waiting to see if he made a mistake. We came out of the pits and I passed him and I knew there was grip in the tires. From there I had a good gap and after I heard he spun, I played it safe. We have had some mistakes the last couple of races and it is good to be back on top.”
Justin Price - No. 22 Dream Racing, Lamborghini Atlanta
“Every lap I was trying to make that pass happen! They told me it was the last lap and I knew I had to get it done. Going into 14, it was going to be whoever was going to hit the brakes last and I guess I won that one today. Chad had a tough job starting on slicks in the wet and it’s great to get a win. I had the time of my life racing today, that was awesome!”
Chad Reed - No. 22 Dream Racing, Lamborghini Atlanta
“We ticked two boxes today. The first was going out at the start on slicks in the wet. That was an experience. It was gnarly. Until the tire temperatures came up, I had no feeling at all. But when they did with each lap, I felt more comfortable. Great job by Justin to get us our second win!”