Charlie Martin charges to class Podium in Lamborghini Super Trofeo at Paul Ricard
At her debut in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe, Charlie Martin was the protagonist of a brilliant season opener at Paul Ricard, with a charge up the order in race 2 that resulted in a last lap pass for second place in LC Cup.
British racer Charlie Martin kicked off her Lamborghini Super Trofeo season with a class podium after a spectacular charge in Race 2 at Circuit Paul Ricard, which launched her maiden season in the European championship. Martin and Jason Keats teamed up once again after their debut season in Lamborghini's one make series in 2022, in the North American championship - where they collected one class win and six podium finishes to finish the season as runner-ups in the LC Cup class. The two drivers are now sharing the #54 Lamborghini Super Trofeo Evo 2 run by Brutal Fish Racing in the LC category. "I'm so excited to get this season underway in Super Trofeo Europe!", commented Martin ahead of the season opener. "To be teaming up with Jason once again will be fantastic as we had so much fun and success racing together in the States last year." "It’s a competitive and thrilling championship, which will be a great challenge that I’m very much looking forward to after the success we experienced in the North American championship throughout 2022, so I can't wait to get behind the wheel again!" Martin qualified in P3 in class for Race 1, where she would take the start at the wheel of the spectacularly-liveried purple Lamborghini. In a huge 48-car field, Yelmer Buurman (Iron Lynx) retained the lead at the start after a hectic start that ended in several cars facing the wrong way. Charlie Martin started to put pressure on second-placed Paolo Biglieri in the LC Cup, while also recovering several positions in the overall classification. Unfortunately, she was tagged into a spin, dropping to fifth on lap 7. She managed to gain back one position soon after - but had to rebuild her race, in order to hand over to Jason Keats in a position as close to the class podium as possible. Once back in fourth place, Martin chased Jurgen Krebbs for third in class - who she overtook once the pit window opened for the mandatory driver change midway through the race. Having extended her stint by a few more laps, Charlie pitted on lap 13 with 20 minutes to go, handing over the #54 machine from third in class after a great recovery. Ahead, Buurman led from Schandorff throughout the first stint, with Michelotto and Zonzini a bit further down the order. The #89 Iron Lynx, though, lost the lead after the driver change, as Nigel Schoonderwoerd found himself in fourth, behind the VSR Lambo of Gilles Stadsbader - fighting with the Target Racing car of Alex Au for the lead - and Oregon's Sebastian Balthasar. Keats dropped to P5, and had to defend from the #77 Lamborghini of Hernandez Ortega, who eventually went past on lap 19. Keats, in only his second season in motor racing, continued to make good improvements after each session and eventually crossed the finish line in sixth place in LC Cup, in his very first European Lamborghini ST race after last year's World Finals at Portimao. Stadsbader took the overall victory in race 1 from Balthasar and Brendon Leitch, after both Au and Schoonderwoerd dropped down.
After a good performance on Saturday, Jason Keats would take the start in race 2 on Sunday morning, from eighth in class on the grid. Loris Spinelli held the overall lead at the start, as De Wilde got ahead of Balthasar after a slow start for Bonduel, who lost two positions. Keats gained a position in class in the opening stages - just before the safety car was deployed for the stationary cars of Hugo Conde and Pedro Ebrahim. As the driver change approached, Jason Keats had moved up to sixth in class, after a very positive first stint for the Canadian driver, increasingly at ease at the wheel of the Brutal Fish Racing Lamborghini. Keats handed over to Charlie Martin for the second stint of the race and, during the round of pit stops, Martin rejoined in seventh place in LC Cup. When also the last of the front runners had pitted, Andrzej Lewandowksi had kept the lead in the #16 VSR Lamborghini, ahead of Rodrigo Testa (Iron Lynx) and Marzio Moretti (Oregon Team), with the top three unchanged. It was Charlie Martin's time to shine and she started a remarkable recovery drive that first saw the #54 machine moving up to fifth in class - lapping around two seconds per lap faster than the cars around. When Paolo Biglieri hit trouble, Martin continued her progress towards a class podium - now less than five seconds away. Still the fastest in class, Martin overtook Gerard van der Horst on lap 22 to grab third. Lewandowski had meanwhile started to drop down the order in the battle for the overall win; Moretti took over the lead from Testa and Leitch. Moretti took the overall and Pro class win, claiming victory for Team Oregon ahead of the Iron Lynx car of Testa and the Leipert Motorsport Lambo of Brendon Leitch. On the very final lap, Charlie Martin managed to snatch second from Jurgen Krebs, after a spectacular pass at turn 11. The charge was the culmination of a very positive debut for Martin/Keats, who got to stand on the podium and collected important points for the LC Cup championship. "To come away from this opening weekend of the season with a second place finish in class and some points on the board is fantastic!" - Charlie Martin commented. "The car felt great all weekend , so a massive thank you to the team at Brutal Fish for giving us the platform to go and battle it out for the podium places." "Jason did a mega job all weekend and we both can't wait to get back behind the wheel again at Spa at the end of June." Next up will be another iconic circuit - Spa Francorchamps - as Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe will support the biggest GT3 race on the planet, the 24 Hours of Spa.