Gravity-Charouz Racing experienced its strongest Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo weekend at Paul Ricard HTTT, France, on 15-17 July 2011, with pairing Gerhard Tweraser and Filip Sladecka securing two deserved race victories.
The pairing won race two and three of the weekend to earn the largest points haul as they left the South of France, after Fabio Babini and Matteo Zucchi claimed a lights-to-flag victory in Saturday’s opening race.
The grid was further strengthend at Paul Ricard HTTT with new faces joining the series including FIA GT1 World Championship racer Antoine Leclerc and experienced GT racer Lukas Lichtner-Hoyer.
But the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo veterans ensured the racing was as competitive as ever. Podium finishes in all three races kept Cédric Leimer top of the Pro-Am Drivers' Standings, with Zucchi seven points behind, while Babini's lead of the Pro Drivers' Championship has increased to 34 points.
Tweraser has climbed to third in the Pro-Am Drivers' Standings following his double win, while Gravity-Charouz Racing is now third in the Teams' Standings and will travel to the next race weekend at Spa-Francorchamps hoping to continue its form.
“Neither of us have driven at Spa-Francorchamps before,” said Sladecka. “We will use a Formula One simulator to learn the track and try to prepare. Free practice will be very important for us in Belgium.”
Babini got his weekend off to a flying start, securing pole position for the #22 Super Trofeo entry in qualifying with a time of 2:12.746. Joining them on the front row was in-form Autovitesse Garage R. Affolter driver C. Leimer, with a time of 2:13.697.
The Pro-Am Standings' top two drivers, Italian Zucchi and Swiss pilot C. Leimer, started alongside each other in race one, ahead of the Dutch duo of Peter Kox and Nico Pronk.
The pole-sitters claimed a hard-fought win in Saturday's opening race. Zucchi found the early-going difficult, and was overtaken by C. Leimer and Touringauto's Eugenio Amos by the end of lap two. The two battled for the lead, with Amos overtaking his Swiss Pro-Am rival after five laps, while behind them Sladecka overtook Zucchi for third.
The pack shuffled during the pit window, with both C. Leimer and Amos receiving stop and go penalties for ending their pit-stops prematurely. Zucchi handed the #22 car over to Babini who began to charge towards the front, moving into the lead when C. Leimer and Amos took their penalties. In the sister Autocarrozeria Imperiale S.R.L. car.Gianluca Carboni finished second, ahead of C. Leimer.
“It was a difficult race: difficult to improve position,” said Babini. “Matteo lost some places at the beginning but it was possible to close the gap in the second part of the race.”
Sladecka and Tweraser produced a strong drive to take the Gravity-Charouz Racing's first victory in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo. Pole-sitter for the second race in a row, Zucchi slipped down to sixth after a spin on lap three, handing the lead to Amos who made a spectacular start climbing from fourth to first.
Behind Amos was Sladecka, who'd risen to second from fifth place ahead of C. Leimer in third. Post driver change, Tweraser emerged in third position after C. Leimer overtook him during his pit-stop, producing a determined drive. The Austrian racer passed both drivers ahead with two laps remaining to take the victory.
“It’s the first win for us,” exclaimed Tweraser. “It was a wonderful race: we started fifth and managed to take the win. The car was good and we didn’t make any mistakes.”
Gravity-Charouz Racing's #77 entry made it a double win in Sunday’s final race, despite a poor start in the rain. Austrian racer Tweraser dropped from first to fourth position in the opening lap, but worked his way back through the field, passing two drivers before swapping with Sladecka.
The Slovakian emerged from the pits in third, but when race leader Zucchi dropped out of contention, Sladecka overtook C. Leimer to take the lead and the win, with Amos in second after he also passed the Swiss driver.
“It’s been the best weekend,” said Tweraser. “The speed was there at Silverstone and we have just got better and better. With a fantastic team-mate I know we can both push for good results. We will try again for the win at Spa.”
The 2011 Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo season resumes at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, on 28-30 July 2011