Super Trofeo World Finals - Vallelunga, Italy
The Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo World Finals commenced in fitting style with all three series represented on the podium for race one and a a dominant performance from Autocarrozzeria Imperiale’s Andrea Amici extending his run of consecutive wins to five. The smart money was thus on the Italian to take the inaugural World Title, but instead race two delivered a thrilling climax that saw Andrew Palmer, a recent addition to the ranks of Super Trofeo racers in North America, adding a win to his second place from the morning race, and with it, the young star claimed the 2013 season Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo World Title for GMG Racing and the USA against stern and experienced opposition.
A dry track was a rare commdity in Vallelunga
Race One started under the Safety Car due to the wet conditions, and Adrian Zaugg led the field away, conscious that the short lap might not enable him to open a significant lead to pass on to his Amateur team-mate for the second half of the race. In pursuit, Andrea Amici played a well-rehearsed waiting game, followed by Composit Motorsport’s Andrea Gagliardini, who was in imperious form for almost the entire duration of the race.
The two drivers who were noted for being out of position – Dimitri Enjalbert and Kevin Conway – made some significant progress in the early stages of the race, moving from the back of the field to as high as 13th for the American, and Enjalbert making it as far as P7 before the pit window opened on lap 12.
As the top five cars rejoined the race after their stops, the race leading Bonaldi #3 car was now in the hands of Federico De Nora, who had a slender 3s advantage at the front of the field.
As the second half of the race unfolded, Andrea Amici – the European Champion – made swift work of despatching De Nora and taking on the race lead on lap 16. US sensation Andrew Palmer, in only his fourth race, followed Amici through and in the process climbed into second position, and the Japanese driver, Manabu Orido took up the final podium position as Andrea Gagliardini tumbled out of the leading positions.
Alberto Viberti saved some honour for Composit Motorsport, reclaiming fourth position after a stop-go penalty, ahead of a hard-charging Dimitri Enjalbert who had made up 18 positions to finish in fifth, just ahead of Federico De Nora. But at the front of the field, Andrea Amici was ordained as the winner when a late race Safety Car took him to the flag, giving Europe a win while Andrew Palmer’s amazing early career achievements were supplemented with a second place for the US, and in fitting World Final style, Manabu Orido’s sterling drive to third ensured that the Asian series was also represented on the podium.
Race one podium, 2nd Palmer USA (left), 1st Amici IT (center), 3rd Orido JAP (right)
Huge anticipation and continuous rain greeted the start of the second 50-minute race, but the weather could not dampen the electric action on track. After the Safety Car had relinquished control of the race on lap 3, Amici attempted to open a gap from the front, but Andrew Palmer stuck to the Italian’s tail while fighting a reguard action to defend from a committed Manabu Orido, who was pushing the American deep into the braking zones and getting half a length inside the GMG #114 car at every corner.
Palmer eventually lost P2 to Orido on lap six, and the Lamborghini Djakarta driver set about challenging Amici for the lead, while Zaugg and Enjalbert closed up on the leading trio. As the front pair scrapped for the lead, the front five bunched up tightly before the pit window intervened.
Palmer (USA) fights his way to the front
Once the order had shaken out after the stops, Amici found himself pegged back in P7, with De Nora leading the field until Alberto Viberti snatched first position, but then fell foul of a stop go penalty. That left Manabu Orido in the lead, while behind him a struggling Amici attempted to recover his position but disastrously slipped off the track with technical problems, ending his race, his run of wins and his hopes for a World Title.
Back on track, Andrew Palmer first closed down the experienced Dimitri Enjalbert and robbed him of second place, then set about challenging the leader. Two short laps later, the American had caught and passed Orido to take the lead, and pushed hard for the final four laps to edge out a 3.8s lead ahead of Japanese driver, who had been sucked into a defensive battle with Aviatrax’s Enjalbert. Orido did just enough to hang onto second, and his French challenger followed him over the line in third to deliver the World Final’s second podium, once again with every step populated by a driver from each of Super Trofeo’s three championships. Behind the top three was Composit Motorsport’s Alberto Viberti, who recovered from his earlier setbacks to score a second fourth place overall finish and his second successive Amateur win. His achievements were ample to claim the Amateur World Final title.
A win for Palmer gives him and GMG Racing a World Title
“It's such a surreal feeling to be Champion and the whole of this weekend has been amazing – I am not sure that the reality has really sunk in just yet! What happened today was the best possible outcome we could have hoped for and I am thrilled with what we have achieved here together with GMG Racing. I hope it will be a springboard for more racing with Lamborghini in the US and all over the world, but I must also remember that on Monday, I have to go back to school! That’s going to be quite weird after this unbelievable finish to the season.”