Abbie Eaton ends Super Trofeo rookie season with top-10 in World Finals
"We’re only just getting started" - Abbie Eaton's Rebelleo Motorsport completed its first season of competitions in Lamborghini Super Trofeo, claiming a top ten finish at the Lamborghini World Finals in Vallelunga. With a podium finish and several top-5s at debut, the team aims to build on this momentum in 2024.
Abbie Eaton's founded Rebelleo Motorsport completed its first season of racing in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe championship, having collected valuable experience throughout the course of the 6 event campaign plus the Lamborghini World Finals in Vallelunga, Italy.
Coming off two years in the all-female single seater championship W Series, Eaton returned to GT racing with her new project - a team that aims to provide a platform for drivers that have historically struggled to secure funding at the top of the sport. From her own personal experience, Eaton is channeling her efforts in the Rebelleo Motorsport team to be a disrupting force - and its first season in one of the most competitive one-make championships in Europe is certainly a very promising first step.
Sharing the #33 car with Dutchman Daan Arrow, Abbie Eaton started the season in the South of France, where the Rebelleo duo claimed a top ten at their first outing at Paul Ricard, then secured a P6 in the second race that showed potential for top five and even podium finishes in the highly-competitive Pro class. Spa Francorchamps hosted the second round in support of the 24 Hours of Spa, and Eaton and Arrow were indeed in the top five for the first time of the year. Progression was steady and fast, and they would step on the podium for the first time at the following round at Nurburgring.
While the Valencia proved to be more challenging, Abbie and Daan still overcame adversities to clinch two top-10 finishes among the Pros and overtook 24 cars in race 2 alone after a first lap contact. Following the cancellation of an earlier round at Imola, the final two double-headers were moved to Vallelunga, in an intensive season finale that preceded the World Finals.
At the technical circuit just outside of Rome, Eaton and Arrow were fifth in the first race of the weekend, fighting back from a 16th place on the grid. Abbie took the start and soon moved up to eleventh, then continued her recovery drive before handing over to Daan Arrow for the second stint, who rejoined in ninth overall. With an equally impressive run, Arrow was able to cross the finish line in P5, clinching their third top-5 of the season.
Race 2 was another positive race for the duo, who recovered to seventh from tenth on the grid. The sixth and final round of the European season was contested just a few days after; among a hige 29 car field only composed of Pro and ProAm entries, Eaton and Arrow were again battling for the front-running positions, steadily in the top ten.
In low temperatures and with a damp track, Eaton avoided trouble at the start and moved from P20 to P13 on the first lap, then battled with a few drivers ahead, whom she passed with strong pace before she pitted on lap 12 after a really strong run.
After the round of pit stops, Arrow was one of the fastest drivers on track and, while he caught the cars ahead, he eventually had to settle for eighth after a safety car finish.
The second race was less fortunate, as the duo dropped down to seventh after a front row start, although they handled the pressure well after close battles.
Ahead of the world finals - held at the track just outside of Rome on the 18-19 November weekend - Abbie Eaton and Daan Arrow were eager to carry momentum and finish the first Rebelleo Motorsport's season on a high.
In race 1, Eaton took the start from P19 among the Pro entries and navigated through a heavily chaotic first lap, which featured several contacts and cars off the road - to climb the order up to P28 overall and 16th in class over the first lap. She continued to move up the field and, when the Safety Car was deployed on lap 9, the Rebelleo Motorsport driver was sitting in P15 in class, having gained 9 places overall.
The pace car bunched up the field and the neutralization was a good opportunity to pit as soon as the pit window opened: Daan Arrow took over from Eaton with 28 minutes to go. With almost 30 cars entering the pits at the same time, the Vallelunga pitlane was an extremely congested one but Daan Arrow managed to gain a few more spots and settled in P22 overall, 14th in the Pro class, once the pit window closed.
Unfortunately, Arrow got stuck in a group of cars over 30 seconds behind the leading pack; now 19th overall and P13 in class, Arrow had 27 seconds to close. In his stint, the Rebelleo racer had top-5 pace and managed to close in on the cars ahead, grabbing 12th in class on lap 26. The Dutchman, though, was handed a 10 second penalty for an earlier contact that dropped him to P15 in class after the chequered flag. Despite the unfortunate race, both Rebelleo drivers had once again showed great speed in their respective stints, gaining several positions after an unlucky and traffic-hampered qualifying.
In the final race of the year, Daan Arrow managed to get back into P11 after snatching a few positions in a highly chaotic first lap, where drivers wrestled their way up the order. The safety car was soon deployed at the end of the first lap following a massive crash for Stewart Slade exiting turn 3.
At the green flag, Daan Arrow hunted down Federico Scionti for eighth in class; the Dutch driver also had to watch his mirrors from the return of Karol Basz, as the pit window approached. Arrow kept a safe gap to the Polish driver and got closer again to Scionti with under 30 minutes to go. When the round of pit stops started, Arrow extended his stint and moved up to sixth overall, fourth in class. On lap 15, he grabbed the Pro class lead and then pitted to hand over to Abbie Eaton.
At the end of the final pit window, Abbie Eaton found herself in ninth place overall and seventh among the Pros, as ProAm Au and Lewandowski led overall. Eaton was managing the gap in P7 when the safety car was deployed with 11 minutes to go, following an off-track by the #14 Oregon Lamborghini of Lorenzo Pegoraro. With now 7 minutes left on the clock, Abbie had to defend from the fast charging cars behind - including Iron Lynx's Ugo De Wilde. Eaton, though, held on masterfully and then gained a position on the penultimate lap, when she moved up to sixth.
At the same time, Au and Lewandowski were trying to defend their overall leadership from Segù and Söderström; the Pro drivers eventually forced their way through, and the VSR Lamborghini of Lewandowski was ultimately spun around just ahead of Eaton. The Rebelleo driver had to take evasive action and lost positions, ultimately crossing the finish line in P11 overall, tenth in class.
A top 10 in the Lamborghini World Finals was a positive end for the Rebelleo Motorsport's first season of competition, as the #33 car - run in partnership with Italian team Bonaldi Motorsport - made significant progress through the season.
"From an idea to try to do some good with the sport I love, to making it a reality, and topping it off with completing a brilliant debut season with an awesome crew", Eaton summed up at the end of the weekend.
"We made such progress on the circuit, finished every single race, were a consistent top 5 finisher, had some bad luck which cost us a few podiums, but we never ever gave up", she continued. "We grew our little idea into a functioning entity, created some amazing content, and started our journey to inspire and drive change."
"We’re only just getting started, next year is a new chapter, and the hard work has already begun".
The Rebelleo Motorsport journey might have just begun, but Abbie Eaton has laid the foundation for a very exciting project that hopefully will leave a mark on the industry, just like her inspiring founder is doing weekend after weekend.