Leonardo Burti’s Evora led the early stages of first qualifying on Saturday, before experiencing problems with the fly-by-wire throttle. Dragao Lotus Motorsport was relegated to third in class by the end of the session, and were unable to fix the issue in time for the second session. They would therefore start Race 2 at the back of the grid.
Burti, starting third on Saturday for the first race, seized the lead at the start. He and Alan Hellmeister’s Aston Martin fought hard, the Vantage edging ahead but the Evora GT4 staying firmly on its tale. However, just before Burti was due to handover to co-driver Valter Pinheiro, the Lotus suffered a broken driveshaft and that was the end of their race.
So, starting last for Sunday’s Race 2, the weekend looked like it might be points-free. However, Pinheiro soldiered on and moved up the field, finishing his stint in an impressive third place in the GT4 class. Burti picked up the baton and pushed on, passing the Ferrari of William Freire and then hunted down the lead car, the BMW M3 GT4 of Leonardo Cordeiro. The Evora was catching fast before the M3 pulled over with a punctured tyre. The Lotus had moved from the back of the grid to P1, and Burti maintained the lead he had over the Ferrari Challenge until the chequered flag.
Leonardo Burti: “We knew we had good pace and could win, so in Race 2 I was just desperate we wouldn’t have any further mechanical issues. The car handles very well, it has more power than the Ginettas and it’s really easy to work. We’re now fifth in the championship, but I think we’ve got our rivals worried now. I’d like to congratulate the whole team on our first win of the season, and also the guys at Lotus in England who worked around the clock to prepare the car for us pre-season.”