Imperiale Racing wins in Barcelona and celebrates its second teams title in a row in International GT Open 2018
23.10.2018 – A fantastic weekend with the first win of the season in category PRO and the second victory in a row of the teams classification ended Imperiale Racing’s exit to Barcelona (ESP) for International GT Open 2018.
The Italian outfit has therefore achieved the target set ahead at the eve thanks to a strong performance completed by the whole team. Imperiale Racing has been the protagonist of all the rounds securing more than ten podiums – seven second places, four third, the splendid win in Monza’s Pro-Am and the deserved win in the closing race of the year.
This result rewarded the competitiveness of the Lamborghini Huracán GT3 prepared by the factory based in Mirandola. The #63 was driven by Giovanni Venturini (ITA) and Jeroen Mul (NL), the #25 by Riccardo Agostini (ITA) and Rik Breukers (NL) in category PRO, while Raffaele Giammaria (ITA) and Jia Tong Liang (PRC) were on the #19 in Pro-Am. The drivers did not hold anything back in this closing weekend in Barcelona, confirming their value in one of the most challenging weekends with thirty cars at the start.
The spectacle started with Q1, when a good performance by Breukers placed the #25 car to the fourth place of the grid in 1:43.818s, that was 0.4s shy of the pole position, while Mul posted a 1:44.226s on the #63 car ending a particularly hard-fought session in P10. Liang struggled to put his best lap together and was 25th in 1:46.090s.
The great work done by the whole team to make the cars competitive on the single lap continued in Q2. A spectacular Venturini placing the #63 in the front row only 0.087s short of the pole position in P2 with a best lap completed in 1:43.205. Giammaria was third of Pro-Am on the #19 challenger, that was 7th overall in 1:43.498s, while Agostini was eighth on the #25 car in 1:43.522s.
The great weekend of Imperiale Racing started with a stunning performance of the #25 car in race one. Breukers kept his position at the start avoiding unnecessary risks. After the pit-stop Agostini made the most of an indecision of Pierburg (Mercedes AMG GT3 #20) and got P1, defending it all the way to the flag. Unfortunately, a penalty due to an irregularity at the start relegated Imperiale Racing’s pairing to P4.
Mul drove the #63 car during the first stint with good focus and grit. The Dutch driver put in several very good overtaking moves and pitted at the opening of the pit window, right after a safety-car. Venturini rejoined in P9 due to the 15s time handicap the pairing had to serve in the pits and completed a great stint closing his race in second place.
The race of the #19 car was more difficult instead. Liang drove a very good first stint recovering several positions before handing the car over to Giammaria. The Italian did not hold anything back and recovered up to P16 overall, that was P6 of Pro-Am, despite serving a 15s time penalty.
In race two Imperiale Racing’s cars put in a great spectacle. The race of the #25 car has been perfect. Agostini’s great getaway allowed him to get two places back and then he drove with great focus all the way to the pit stop. Back on track in P2 due to the good strategy devised by the pit-wall, Breukers put in impressive lap times and closed in on the #51 Ferrari 488 GT3 driven by Mikkel Mac. With eight laps to go the twenty years old Dutch completed a spectacular overtaking that allowed him to fly towards the flag repeating the victory of race one that was voided by the penalty.
Venturini also deserved a round of applause on the #63 car. He put in a great start that led to a splendid move on Fran Rueda (BMW M6 GT3 #47) that earned him the lead on lap five. He, later on, started to pull away, but the big handicap time accumulated in the previous races ended on the podium and a drive through following a contact with Mul and Montermini (Ferrari 488 GT3 #16) slowed him down in the second part of the race and the Dutch driver closed 17th overall.
The #19 car had another complex race instead. Giammaria drove wisely in the first stint and went long thanks to a great feeling with the car. Liang was involved in several battles in the second stint and he could not get the most of the potential of his Lamborghini Huracán GT3 closing 23rd overall.
Giorgio Ferro (Imperiale Racing, Motorsport Director):
“We are very happy for having achieved the target being again on top of the teams classification in a particularly competitive series like the International GT Open. We won two championships in a row ( Giovanni Venturini also won the Drivers Classification 2017) which proves beyond doubt that we at Imperiale Racing successfully managed to combine passion, competence and organization in these past two years. Credit goes to excellent mechanics, well-prepared staff and drivers that have been professional and focused since day one. The precious coordination of Lamborghini Squadra Corse has completed the package. At the end of two successful years, I want to thank everyone for their precious contribution”.
International GT Open | Teams Standings
1. Imperiale Racing pt. 110; 1. Luzich Racing pt. 100; 3. BMW Team Teo Martín pt. 79; 4. Ombra Racing pt. 42; 5. RS Racing pt. 37
International GT Open | Drivers Standings
1. Mikkel Mac pt. 124; 2. Andrés Saravia – Fran Rueda pt. 114; 3. Alessandro Pier Guidi pt. 108; 4. Giovanni Venturini – Jeroen Mul pt. 94; 5. Riccardo Agostini – Rik Breukers pt. 89; 6. Damiano Fioravanti pt. 78; 7. Daniele Di Amato pt. 71; 8. Andrea Montermini pt. 66; 9. Marco Cioci pt. 59; 10. Tom Onslow-Cole – Valentin Pierburg pt. 55
International GT Open | Pro-Am Drivers Standings
1. Tom Onslow-Cole – Valentin Pierburg pt. 78; 2. Miguel Ramos – Fabrizio Crestani pt. 78; 3. Marcelo Hahn pt. 58; 4. Bradley Ellis – Oliver Wilkinson pt. 48; 5. Jia Tong Liang – Raffaele Giammaria pt. 47; 6. Alexander West – Michele Rugolo pt. 37; 7. Allam Khodair pt. 36; 8. Allan Hellmeister pt. 22; 9. David Perel – Rinat Salikhov pt. 22; 10. Stefano Costantini – Alberto Di Folco pt. 21
International GT Open 2018 | Race Calendar
14-15 April – Estoril (P)
5-6 May – Paul Ricard (FRA)
9-10 June – Spa-Francorchamps (B)
7-8 July – Hungaroring (H)
1-2 September – Silverstone (GB)
22-23 September – Monza (ITA)
20-21 October – Barcelona (ESP)