ALTON, Va. – Cedric Sbirrazzuoli and Paolo Ruberti came out on top of a wet and wild Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America event Saturday at Virginia Int’l Raceway.
The race started under yellow due to wet conditions, and the 16-car field was on slick tires. These conditions were an advantage for the more experienced drivers in the field to navigate the 17-turn, 3.27-mile circuit.
A seven-minute caution period started the 50-minute race, before former Super Trofeo champion Shinya Michimi led the field to the green flag. He assumed the lead for the first few laps of the race.
He held the overall and Pro class lead for three laps before Richy Antinucci cut to the inside and passed him in turn one. The four-car Pro class was tightly spaced for the next few minutes of the race until Andrea Amici made contact with Michimi around turn 11. That allowed Cedric Sbirrazzouli, in the No. 27 Dream Racing/Lamborghini Dallas entry to move into second place.
As the mandatory pit window opened with 30 minutes remaining, Antinucci still held the lead as he pulled in to turn his car over to Corey Lewis with 28 minutes to go. The No. 27 stayed out and ended up pitting late in the window as Paolo Ruberti took over the wheel.
After that cycle was complete, Ruberti was in the lead and worked hard over the last 20 minutes to hold off Lewis. The lead was less than a second for most of the next 10-12 minutes, and then Lewis made a bold move at the end of the back straightaway with seven minutes to go. Ruberti pushed him out of the way though as they moved through traffic and held onto the lead and he drove the car to their first victory of the season. Michimi and his teammate Brandon Gdovic finished in third.
“That was a good battle with Corey,” Ruberti said. “We had some touching together and we can be proud to be the winners today.”
“The start was quite tricky. I didn’t want to make any mistakes and risk it in the first few laps,” Sbirrazzuoli said. “I knew the car was strong in the dry and I was waiting for the conditions to improve. I saw an opportunity as the cars ahead of me were battling and I was waiting to take advantage of that situation. I managed to pass both and was able to catch the leader. At that point, it was too risky to overtake right before the pit window opened, so we were able to give Paolo a clear track to take the lead.”
Early in the race in the Pro-Am Class, Patrick Liddy held an early lead in the No. 24 US RaceTronics/Lamborghini La Jolla entry. As the pit window opened, the season’s class leader – the No. 09 entry from US RaceTronics and Lamborghini Vancouver – was the first to pit and Damon Ockey turned over to Jacob Eidson. He took no time in assuming the lead and slowly pulled ahead for their sixth win in seven races.
Liddy and Ron Atapattu finished second while William Hubbell and Bruno Junqueria in the No. 69 Prestige Performance/Wayne Taylor Racing entry was third.
The Am Class once again featured a battle between two young drivers in Steven Aghakhani and Madison Snow. Aghakhani, 16, held the early lead and was first to pit with 27 minutes to remaining.
Following the pit window, Snow assumed a slim class lead until Aghakhani spun in turn 11 with 18 minutes remaining. From there, Snow held a comfortable lead for the remainder of the race to earn his fourth class win of the season. Sheena Monk in the No. 7 Dream Racing, Lamborghini Palmyra finished in third.
The LB Cup perhaps provided the most drama of the race, as Chad Reed enjoyed an early class lead before Thomas Lovelady overtook him in the class-leading No. 08 entry from GMG Racing/Lamborghini Newport Beach, shortly before both cars stopped in the mandatory pit window.
Lovelady turned the car over to class leader Mel Johnson, and he remained in the lead for most of the second half of the race – until the end.
Justin Price took over for Reed and had stayed close to Johnson. On the last lap, he made a late move to overtake the No. 08 and go on to earn the second victory for he and his partner, the Supercross star who is in his first year of Super Trofeo.
Ashton Harrison and Stephanie Cemo in the No. 43 Prestige Performance/Wayne Taylor Racing/Lamborghini Paramus continued their strong season with a third-place finish.