Now in its fourth season, the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo returned to the track for the 2012 season opener at Monza this weekend. With 17 cars eager to do battle in the single make series, featuring the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo race car, a strong grid sees new teams from France and Germany as well as gentlemen drivers from across Europe including 13 new contenders.
Newcomers include a German team supported by G2 Racing and French entry Jerome Lhoste (#12) with team Autovitesse, and drivers including Arsitotelis Varvaroussis (#88) from Greece and Minister of Trade and Industry for Czechoslovakia Milan Urban (#66).
Series fans are also delighted to welcome back Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo 2011 Champion Cedric Leimar (#63) who has returned to defend his crown. For Monza, Italian GT Cup champion Davide Stancheris pilots the #23 car of Autocarrozzeria Imperiale, although without his GT cup co-driver, Lamborghini's chief test driver Giorgio Sanna.
Guest driver in the Automobili Lamborghini #1 car in Monza is popular British television presenter and race driver Tiff Needell, filming a Fifth Gear programme for the Discovery Channel to be aired later this summer.
With 12 rounds over six race meetings, complemented by two free practice and a qualifying session each weekend, the line-up in Monza heralds a competitive and exciting 2012 season.
Qualifying, Saturday 14 April
In damp conditions, new Touring Auto 2000 driver Dimitri Enjalbert (#69) secured pole position with a last-gasp lap of 1:54.146 just as the flag waved to end the session. Bonaldi Motorsport's Stefano Comini (#3) qualified a close second with a fastest lap time of 1:54.679 whilst last year's Pro Am champion Cedric Leimar (#63) finished qualifying in third place.
"We only confirmed the team last Wednesday," said Bernard Delhez, co-driver of Enjalbert. "Last year we tried out the Super Trofeo in Barcelona and won the first race, and now we have made a good start to this season with pole position. Dimitri has had the fastest time in qualifying and this has given us great motivation."
Milan Urban (#66) driving for Team Heiko-Gravity Charouz made back row on the grid due to spinning and hitting the barrier at the entry to Parabolica 15 mins into the qualifying session. Guest driver Tiff Needell netted seventh place with his team mate, Lamborghini test driver Mario Fasanetto, starting in seventh place for the first race.
Round One, Saturday 14 April
With weather conditions changeable and heavy cloud cover overhead, teams chose a variety of wet and slick tyres to start the first race of the 2012 season.
Dimitri Enjalbert (#69) transformed his pole position into an immediate lead with the first three positions remaining unchanged for six laps until Stefano Comini (#3) took the lead on lap seven. Bernard Delhez (#69) took the opportunity to lead again at lap 12 whilst Comini was in the pits during the mandatory driver change window. However Comini, driving alone, returned strongly and held the lead all the way to the flag with a lap to spare.
"Despite the changing weather conditions I was on slick tyres all the way round, but the track was wet and the car was drifting a bit," Comini said. "Dimitri (#69) and I were jostling each other and it was close but fun. Towards the end it was a bit dull as I was a lap ahead but the car performed well and the race was easy."
Last season's champion, Cedric Leimar (#63) gave up his third place start to VIP driver Tiff Needell (#1), who enjoyed an excellent race with team-mate Mario Fasanetto. The pair, who started seventh, claimed the final podium position in third, while Leimer took fourth position.
Further back there was a strong tussle between the #2 car of new German team G2 Racing and Jakub Knoll (#77) with Knoll getting the better of the duel for 13th position.
A delighted Tiff Needell commented: "Mario definitely made the right decision at the beginning to go with slick tyres. You will have to watch my report on Fifth Gear on the Discovery Channel but it was a dream result for a dream team. Super Mario meets Super Tiff!"
The 2012 Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo series resumes tomorrow at 11.10 for the final race of the weekend.
1. Delhez/Enjalbert (#69) Touring Auto 200 SRL, 1:54.146
2. Comini (#3) Bonaldi Motorsport, 1:54.679
3. Leimar (#63) Autovitesse Garage R. Affolter, 1:55.088
4. Carboni (#54) Autocarrozzeria Imperiale S.R.L, 1.:55.430
5. Geraci/Tanca (#72) Autocarrozzeria Imperiale S.R.L, 1:55.912
6. Zucchi/Cola (#22) Autocarrozzeria Imperiale S.R.L, 1:55,963
7. Fasanetto/Needell (#1) Automobili Lamborghini, 1:56,275
8. Seveso/Pincastelli (#20) Autocarrozzeria Imperiale S.R. L, 1:57.014
9. Charouz/Varvaroussis (#88) Heiko-Gravity Charouz, 1:57.984
10. Mame/Zanardini (#11) Bonaldi Motorsport, 2:00.693
11. Hoste (#12) Autovitesse Garage R. Affolter, 2:00.793
12. Segler/Venema (#2) G2 Racing, 2:01.126
13. Leimar/Jenny (#19) Autovitesse Garage R.Afolter, 2:01.624
14. Knoll (#77) Heiko-Gravity Charouz Team, 2:02.037
15. Stovicek/Baran (#99) Heiko-Gravity Charouz Team, 2:03.243
16. Stancheris (#23) Bonaldi Motorsport, 2:06.332
17. M Urban/J Urban (#66) Heiko-Gravity Charouz Team, 2:06.801
Round One results
1. Comini (#69), Bonaldi Motorsport, 50:42.676
2. Delhez/Enjalbert (#69), Touring Auto 200 SRL, 52:11.764
3. Fasanetto/Needell (#1), Automobili Lamborghini, 52:26.088
4. Leimer (#63), Autovitesse Garage R.Affolter, 50:54.711
5. Carboni (#54), Autocarrozzeria Imperiale S.R.L, 51:21.911
6. Charouz/Varvaroussis, (#88) Heiko-Gravity Charouz Team, 52:00.871
7. Stancheris (#23) Bonaldi Motorsport, 52:02.498
8. Seveso/Pincastelli (#20)Autocarrozzeria Imperiale S.R.L, 52:23.130
9. Zucchi/Cola (#22), Autocarrozzeria Imperiale S.R.L, 52:23.954
10. Geraci/Tanca (#72), Autocarrozzeria Imperiale S.R.L, 52:33.345
11. Mamé/Zanardini (#11), Bonaldi Motorsport, 52:38.911
12. M Urban/J Urban (#66), Heiko-Gravity Charouz Team, 51:19.789
13. J Knoll (#77), Heiko-Gravity Charouz Team, 52:01.506
14. Segler/Venema (#2) G2 Racing, 52:13.432
15. Stovicek/Baran (#99), Heiko-Gravity Charouz Team, 52:28.855
16. H Leimer/Jenny (#19), Autovitesse Garage R.Affolter, 32:13.667
17. Lhoste (#12), Autovitesse Garage R.Affolter, 21:49.621