Spa-Francorchamps with the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo, Zeltweg with the International GT Open and now the Nürburgring, where this season’s fifth and penultimate round of the single-marque’s Championship from the manufacturer from Sant’Agata Bolognese was held. Orange1 Team Lazarus is racing on all the legendary race tracks. The latest race was held on the track where 40 years ago, on 1 August 1976, Niki Lauda’s Ferrari 312 T2 went up in flames, one of the worst accidents in the history of motorsport. Soon afterwards Formula One said Goodbye to the so called Green Hell with its almost 23 km.
At the end of the 6-week “holiday” the Huracán LP620-2 was back in the hands of Fabrizio Del Monte-Nicola De Marco and Andrea Ceccato-Kenneth Kröpfl, while it was finally also a home-race for Kenneth. The weekend at the “Ring” announced itself as another fierce competition with around 40 strong “Lambo” competitors on the track. Performance, reliability and consistency paid off for the men from Padua. In the PRO class the drivers’ couple from Lazio and Friuli gained fourth place with 46 points, while the duo from Veneto and Bavaria consolidated their seventh place in the PRO-AM category with 35 points.
The race weekend in Germany started on Friday with cautious performances in the two rounds of Free Practice. After all the German and Italian drivers with their cars number 26 and 27 had to get used to the extremely demanding track in the Eifel region.
Saturday, 17 September, started quite well for the Team from
Caselle di Selvazzano Dentro here in Germany. In the qualifying Del Monte-De Marco gained 13th (ninth in the PRO class) and Ceccato-Kröpfl 18th position (ninth in the PRO-AM category) for the starting grid.
Race 1 was extremely busy with the numerous Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo cars on the track. The Huracán number 27 Made-in-Veneto was involved in a collision on lap 25, but in the end Fabrizio and Nicola concluded the race in 15th place, followed by Kenneth and Andrea in 18th. This meant place eight in the PRO category and 10th in the PRO-AM class.
Sunday went even better: in the qualifying for Race 2 Ceccato and Kröpfl gained seventh position aka the pole position in the PRO-AM category. Del Monte and De Marco had to start from position 24, due to a misfortune, which happened to the man from Lazio, who was unable to find neither his rhythm nor the space to drive his fast lap.
On Sunday, 18 September, it was thick fog and the Safety Car on the track, which wrote this round’s history. Despite the difficult conditions Fabrizio and Nicola as well as Andrea and Kenneth brought home valuable results from Germany: place twelve and fourteen, which translated into seventh places in the PRO and the PRO-AM category, thanks to a series of breathtaking overtaking manoeuvres. A precious conclusion of this demanding race weekend for Orange1 Team Lazarus as well as a solid base for the decisive races at the World Finals in Valencia on the weekend of 1-2 December.
Fabrizio Del Monte
“Nicola handed over the car in Race 1 in a very good position. I then had problems keeping the race rhythm up with overtaking manoeuvres and lapping of backmarkers. More than once I risked an accident. Once I had found my rhythm I gave it my all to bring the car home. This is always important, to collect some useful data. We still had to improve, also to thank Orange1 and Team Lazarus, who give it their all every single day. Race 2 started behind the Safety Car due to the weather conditions, considering of how much it had rained before. I immediately started a difficult pursuit race. Despite the track conditions I made up some positions and kept my competitors at bay, to help Nicola for his stint….”
Nicola De Marco
“Our first race of the weekend was compromised by the fact that we had to start from fourteenth position. Nevertheless, I had a good start and could pass three or four of my ‘colleagues’. My entire stint was extremely difficult. I tried to not lose any ground until the perfect pit stop, when Fabrizio took over. He tried to conclude the race as good as possible. We have to thank Armando Donazzan (Head of Orange1, editor’s note) and our Team, who support us so much, even though we’re not always at the top. Something we had a taste of at the start of the season. On Sunday, in Race 2, when I had taken over the car from Del Monte, I was stuck in the middle of the starting field. We still had a good race rhythm and we could have fought for top positions in the classification, if it hadn’t been for the unlucky qualifying on Saturday. In the end I drove my pursuit race and we gained some important points. What else can I say? An improving weekend is always something positive…”
“Race 1 was quite difficult due to the heavy traffic on the track and the fact that shortly after the start Kenneth was the victim of a collision, which created some damage to the car’s overall set up. The car was a bit ‘bent’ at the front after the accident, which had an influence on the second part of his and then of my stint. Sunday? In the qualifying, which went quite well, I drove the seventh fastest overall time, which was pole position in our class. In the end the race was started behind the Safety Car due to the fog. The car was better to drive also thanks to some modifications we had carried out after Race 1. So the race rhythm was really good. After the pit stop we held first position for half a lap. Kröpfl gave it his all as usual, but he lacking experience in demanding races like these. Now we’re working towards the Finali Mondiali in Valencia with all the great data we could collect here.”
“Finally a home race for me. I didn’t entirely know the Nürburgring, because so far I only had raced on the short track. It was not easy at all to learn the long circuit. In the first qualifying I tried to get to know the track better and hold my ground, fighting with understeer and a slippery tarmac. That’s how we ended up in 18th position for the grid, but it could have been four to five tenths of a second better. In Race 1 we had a collision with another car half way through the race. What a pity, because our car was alright, except for the fact that we could have found a better set up.”