Selvazzano Dentro (Padua), 22 October 2020 – Team Lazarus extends the podium tally in the International GT Open at Spa-Francorchamps, heading into the final race of the season held in Barcelona in 4th place in the overall standings.
After an accident at Blanchimont during Free Practice for the Bentley Continental GT3 number 28, Fabrizio Crestani and Yannick Mettler are left as the only Lazarus representatives for the remainder of the Belgian double header. In Race 1, the Italian driver is able to build a consistent 3.1s advantage in the first lap after starting from pole position, but is chased down by the number 48 AF Corse. As the pit window opens and Mettler takes the wheel earlier than most, Bentley number 26 rejoins in P5 and is put under strain by the number 17 AF Corse, running on the same pit strategy. The Ferrari manages to overtake, but both cars steadily progress through the ranks as the pit window closes. Vincent Abril gains the head of the race, as Mettler brilliantly defends P2 in a four-way battle in the span of a 1-second interval.
Race 2 sees Team Lazarus start from P5, with Mettler on driving duties for the first stint. The Swiss driver has a brilliant start, which allows him to gain one position in Turn 1 and immediately chase Eastwood’s Aston Martin in P3. After temporarily losing P4 again, strategy once again proves impeccable for Team Lazarus, as an early driver change allows car number 26 to undercut the top six as Crestani rejoins in P7. The early pit window call allows the Italian to rise to P3 with 20 minutes left on the clock, but the team is awarded a 15-second time penalty. The final stages of the race see the Bentley eating away at the gap from P2 and P1, while consolidating a safe interval from Louis Prette’s Ferrari in P4. Despite managing to cross the finishing line in P2, Team Lazarus has to settle for third position as the penalty is applied.
With only one race left in this peculiar 2020 season, Team Lazarus now sits fourth in the standings with Crestani and Mettler. In Barcelona, car number 26 can still fight for P3 overall, with 30 points still on the table and a 25-point gap from Yoluc and Eastwood.
Tancredi Pagiaro, Team Principal: “We have two pole positions under our belt with Bentley and our fastest laps finally show that we’ve got the pace to consistently fight for the lead. Despite our limited resources and the adversities everybody is going through this year, the quality of our people and our approach shines through and is key to these results. The Bentley is an exceptional car, driven by exceptional drivers.”
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