Lamborghini wins the GT Open and a double DTM podium in Portimão – 4Legend.com – AudiPassion.com
Lamborghini launched its bid for a fifth GT Open International Championship title in seven years in the best possible way as Team Oregon’s Leonardo Pulcini and Benja Hites stormed to a stunning double victory at Estoril. Meanwhile, some 300km further south, Lamborghini also took the lead in the DTM points standings thanks to pole position and a pair of third places for Grasser Racing Team factory driver Mirko Bortolotti at Portimão.
Success in GT Open
For its first GT Open appearance, the weekend couldn’t have gone better for Oregon Team, which won the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe Drivers’ and Teams’ Championship titles last season with Pulcini and Kevin Gilardoni. The #63 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO of Pulcini and Hites started fifth on the grid and immediately progressed through Pulcini to finish third throughout the first stint.
Hites took over at the pitstop and moved up to second in the final quarter, but with a significant pace advantage over the McLaren of Nick Moss in the lead. Car #63 quickly carried the leader and Hites made the crucial move for the lead entering the VIP corner with just under nine minutes to go. Behind, Gilardoni and his teammate Glenn van Berlo finished in third place at the wheel of the #19 Oregon Team Huracán.
It was a similar story in the second race on Sunday, with Hites starting the race from sixth place but moving up to fourth following a daring overtake on the outside of the tight first corner. The #63 was the best-placed Pro class car ever and, after the driver change with Pulcini, remained firmly in contention in the closing stages.
Having had to serve an extra three seconds in the pits as a success penalty, Pulcini overtook the Audi R8 LMS of Marcin Jedlinski and then closed the gap to the leaders. After a patient build-up, Pulcini dived for second over Reema Juffali’s Mercedes with six minutes remaining before grabbing the race lead from Roman Ziemian’s Ferrari, which he held despite late pressure from the McLaren of Joe Osborne.
As in the opening race, van Berlo and Gilardoni produced another determined drive to finish third in the Pro class – and fourth overall – in the #19 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO. Pulcini and Hites take a six-point championship lead for the next round of the season, which is due to take place at Paul Ricard on the weekend of May 21-22, 2022.
Bortolotti takes first DTM points lead with pole and double podium
In Portimão, Grasser Racing Team made its DTM debut, with Lamborghini Factor driver Bortolotti leading the effort beautifully on Saturday morning by taking pole position. He maintained the lead from the start, despite the proximity of the Mercedes of Mikaël Grenier and Lucas Auer.
The #63 Lamborghini Huracán was the fastest car on track for the opening segment of the race and held the lead either side of the mandatory pit stop until the safety car was deployed following a problem encountered by Bortolotti’s teammate, Rolf Ineichen, at the exit of the pits. Bortolotti himself then suffered a problem on the following restart, dropping to fifth. But the Italian reacted well and moved up to third place after a well-orchestrated overtaking on the Mercedes of Maro Engel.
Race 2 took place under similar conditions, with Bortolotti qualifying second on the grid but riding with an extra 5kg after his third place finish the day before. The #63 held on to second place at the start but fell behind Felipe Fraga’s Ferrari in third place.
Bortolotti remained in contention after the pit stops but couldn’t quite keep pace with those in front. Nevertheless, another third place was enough for Bortolotti to take the lead in the Drivers’ Championship heading into the second round of the season at the Lausitzring on the weekend of May 21-22.