LAMBORGHINI: PLACE ON THE PODIUM IN PRO-AM FOR ORANGE1 TEAM LAZARUS AT LE CASTELLET
Did Orange1 Team Lazarus maybe already find a house in Saint-Tropez, at the Cote d’Azur with its sunshine and warm scents of lavender? The Team has raced twice over the last three weeks at the Paul Ricard track, which sits just north-east of Toulon. They participated in the International GT Open and in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo, where they could already benefit from their experience on the French high-tech track.
The weekend started with an interesting twist. The 1000 km at Paul Ricard was started at midnight on Saturday after one minute of silence for Andrea Mamè. In the end the race, with big names such as Nicola Larini starting and which counts in the Blancpain Endurance Series, was won by the McLaren 650S GT3 with Rob Bell, Côme Ledogar and Shane Van Gisbergen. These men had been defeated right here in Le Castellet by the team from Veneto with their Huracán GT3 in 5 June. The race last weekend was a spectacular sight with a taste from the 1970s and 1980s with numerous cars on the track: 50 for the endurance race and a whole 47 for the single-marque’s race.
Amongst the Orange 1 Team Lazarus’ drivers Andrea Ceccato and Nicola De Marco drove some great pursuit stints of the three days, while Fabrizio Del Monte and Kenneth Kröpfl felt their inexperience on this wonderful but challenging and difficult circuit in the South of France. Both runs in the third round of the season in the single-marque’s Championship by the car manufacturer from Sant’Agata Bolognese was won by the Danish driver Dennis Lind, while the Team guided by Tancredi Pagiaro gained another important place on the podium. It happened in the first part on Saturday afternoon: Andrea Ceccato and Kenneth Kröpfl classified third in the PRO-AM category, while the Safety Car played its role to make it more difficult for the guys, who had to cut their stint short (especially the man from Vicenza, racing with the men from Pordenone and Lazio). This was just a sweetie for the harmonious Team with lots of potential run by Tancredi Pagiaro. Nevertheless, it will be a ‘carrot’ for the half-time race held from 29 to 31 July at Spa-Francorchamps at the legendary 24-hour race.
At Le Castellet the Free Practice offered an optimistic outlook for the two orange Huracán LP620-2. On Friday, 24 June the supercars with their number 26 and 27 immediately drove some of the quickest lap times. In the first round of the Free Practice Nicola De Marco and Fabrizio Del Monte drove the second fastest time, followed by Andrea Ceccato and Kenneth Kröpfl fourth. In the second and last session one car was slightly slower: while the couple from Friuli and Lazio set the 15th fastest time the men from Bassano and Bavaria drove the 4th fastest. Results for an optimistic outlook regarding the upcoming qualifying and race.
On Saturday morning the qualifyings were held for Race 1 and Race 2. Here it didn’t really work for men from the Team made in Veneto like they could have expected after the good results in the Free Practice on French soil. So how did it work for Del Monte-De Marco and Ceccato-Kröpfl in the qualifyings, setting the starting grids for the races at the track on the Cote d’Azur? For the race on Saturday afternoon the two Lambos with the numbers 26 and 27 gained ninth and eighth position respectively. For Race 2, held on Sunday, it went slightly worse: while the Italian-German duo classified in 27th position, the men from Pordenone and Lazio drove the 17th fastest time.
In Race 1 on the weekend in France the two Lamborghinis with their orange liveries with their four drivers gave it their all, although the performance was behind expectations and the Team’s ambitions. On Saturday afternoon Nicola De Marco, Fabrizio Del Monte, Andrea Ceccato and Kenneth Kröpfl finished the race over 21 laps in ninth and 13th place respectively in the overall classification. This was an eighth place in the PRO class and a fifth place in the PRO-AM category. The Lazarus drivers in the PRO class suffered with a tyre losing pressure. The men in the PRO-AM category, racing the second orange Lambo from Veneto, benefited from a penalty against two of their rivals, which let them end up on the podium with a third place in the group made up of professionals and amateurs.
In Race 2, held on Sunday, the starting places were further back on the grid. Both driver pairings from the Team from Padua fought like lions, catching up mainly thanks to the stints by the more expert drivers. In the final standings of Sunday’s race Nicola De Marco and Fabrizio Del Monte were 12th (eighth in the PRO class) and Andrea Ceccato-Kenneth Kröpfl 22nd (11th in the PRO-AM category): the two orange Huracáns from Orange 1 Team Lazarus drove the 23 laps of the race – two more than in the race on Saturday – with great reliability and well-prepared, carrying home their race like Swiss clockworks.
Fabrizio Del Monte
“It was a ‘normal’ weekend here at Le Castellet. On Saturday De Marco handed over the car in eighth position I carried it with no problems across the line. On Sunday we started from further behind. Not much after the start of the race, while I was in 17th position, a car in front of me lost some oil. I couldn’t avoid it and lost several positions in the field before I could try to make up some ground and hand the car over to Nicola. He finished the race and collected numerous data, which will be useful for the next Super Trofeo race”.
Nicola De Marco
“From my point of view this wasn’t really a positive weekend. We went quite well in the qualifying, although not at the level we were hoping for. In the race we had positive and negative moments in our respective stints. We didn’t manage to reach the set goal, but this doesn’t mean that we’re not confident for the next race in the Championship. This is inevitably what we have to do. The race at Le Castellet has now been filed after we’ve analysed together with the engineers what had gone wrong”.
“Thanks to the qualifying at Paul Ricard we started from the front rows into Saturday’s race. In the end we managed to gain third place in the race in the PRO-AM category. It wasn’t easy due to the high temperatures and the tyre wear. In Race 2 we started further back, but nevertheless we managed to have a good race, crossing the line in 15th place. The day before we carried out some modifications to the set-up, using the race as a test, as we were further behind in the field. Halfway through the race we noticed that the car got difficult to drive and had lots of oversteer: I even spun the car in a corner, when I tried to up the game. This race weekend wasn’t one of the best, but we’re going home with at least one place on the podium, which we hope is a good sign for the rest of the Championship. Team Lazarus puts willpower and passion and we’re all improving together!”
“I want to thank Andrea (Ceccato, editor’s note) for his kind words. What else is there to say? First of all, this was my first time here at Paul Ricard: the track is very nice, but also very difficult. We also had some problems. The Free Practice went quite well, but the qualifying was quite difficult for me, while the track changed the whole time and the tyres wore off. I drove the 27th fastest time. In Race 1 we started from eighth position thanks to the performance of my teammate and it went pretty well with a third place in the end. On Sunday we started further back and had to make up at least 20 positions. I gave it my all before I handed over the car to Andrea Ceccato, but I had problems with the tyres. I’m optimistic for the next race, because also in France we learned a lot about the car and how to tackle the tracks…first of all me…”.