Lamborghini trio win Monza Blancpain Endurance opener
Lamborghini took a dominant win in the opening Endurance Cup round of the Blancpain GT Series at Monza with the all-factory line-up of Mirko Bortolotti, Andrea Caldarelli and Christian Engelhart.
Their Grasser-run Lambo Huracan GT3 took the lead during the first round of pitstops and was unchallenged on the way to a winning margin of just under half a minute.
"After my pitstop, the team told me I had a 4.5s lead," said Caldarelli. "Our strategy in qualifying was to save the tyres, so I knew we should have good pace - we did and I could build the gap."
Bortolotti shadowed Miguel Molina in the SMP Racing Ferrari 488 GTE into the first pitstop window of the three-hour race, before Caldarelli emerged with a clear lead over the Italian car now driven by Victor Shaytar.
Caldarelli was able to extend the margin to nearly 25s before Shaytar came into the pits to hand over to Davide Rigon.
Engelhart found himself with a similar advantage over the ISR Audi R8 LMS driven by Clemens Schmid after the final pitstops.
Rigon briefly began to make inroads into the Lamborghini's advantage after passing the Audi, before being handed a drive-through penalty for a yellow-flag infringement.
That allowed Schmid back into second, a position he maintained under severe pressure from Alessandro Pier Guidi's Spirit of Race Ferrari until losing drive in the closing minutes.
That meant Pier Guidi, who shared his Ferrari with Pasin Lathouras and Michele Rugolo, had a clear run to second.
Franck Perera came through to a distant third in the HTP Mercedes-AMG GT3 he shared with Maximilian Buhk and Jimmy Eriksson on a track where the German car wasn't fully competitive.
Giancarlo Fisichella, James Calado and Marco Cioci took fourth position from 14th on the grid in the AF Corse-run Kaspersky Ferrari 488 GTE.
Rigon took the flag in fifth ahead of the M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 shared by Vincent Abril, Andy Soucek and Maxime Soulet.
The TF Sport-run Oman Racing Team Aston Martin V12 Vantage came through to take Pro-Am class honours courtesy of a late charge from Jonny Adam.
The Aston factory driver, who shared the car with Ahmad Al-Harthy, set the overall fastest lap of the race as he chased down Andrea Rizzoli's Kessel Ferrari for the class win.
The race was red-flagged after just two laps in the wake of a multi-car startline shunt that partially blocked the track.
The accident happened when Bentley driver Guy Smith nudged Ezequiel Perez Companc's Grasser Lambo on the run to the first corner.
The Lamborghini ended up on the grass and spun across the field, and Smith was subsequently given a 15s stop-go penalty for causing a collision, but did not stop in the pits.
He was subsequently black-flagged, only to rejoin the track after driving through the pits. He pitted again five laps later and the car took no further part in the race.
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