Charlie Martin claims podium at Vallelunga after charging race
After a charging race two at Vallelunga, Charlie Martin made her way from seventh to second, securing another class podium in the fifth round of Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe ahead of the World Finals.
Charlie Martin's season in Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe continued at Vallelunga, Italy, with yet another podium finish, following a strong run in Sunday's second race, showcasing brilliant speed to charge up the field of the LC Cup class to the runner up spot in the fifth round of the European season.
Martin, who shares the #54 Brutal Fish Racing Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo Evo 2 with Canadian Jason Keats, resumed her campaign after a podium finish in Valencia - where she charged through the field from last on the grid, showing excellent speed. The result was preceded by more podium runs at Paul Ricard and Nürburgring - in a widely positive debut season in the competitive European championship, after the duo contested their rookie season in the North American championship.
Alonsgide her podium finishes, Martin also secured a pole position at Spa Francorchamps, by the impressive margin of seven tenths of a second from the closest rival in class.
Having scored 36 points ahead of the Vallelunga round, Charlie Martin and Jason Keats sat fifth in the championship standings of the LC Cup class and were looking forward to more silverware at the 4.085km circuit just outside of Italian's capital Rome.
"It has been a long break away from the track and I've taken the time to reset and recharge ahead of this weekend", Martin commented before the event. "Vallelunga is an exciting track and after our podium success in Valencia last time out, I'm raring to get going and hit the track once more."
The weekend precedes the 2023 Lamborghini World Finals, also contested at the Vallelunga circuit. "It'll also be great to get as much track time as possible before the World Finals that follow the weekend after," Charlie added.
Despite tricky weather conditions in practice, Martin and Keats showed enough speed to aim for the podium - with Charlie setting the second fastest lap in FP2 with a 1:36.551 lap. The condensed format - due to the cancellation of a previous round in Imola - meant that qualifying was scheduled for the afternoon: now in dry conditions, she then finished third in class, with Biglieri bagging LC Cup pole in Q1, ahead of Jürgen Krebs. It was then Keats' turn to qualify in Q2 - and the Canadian was seventh fastest in the session that set the grid for the second race.
Martin took the helm for the first stint and, from third in class and 14th overall, she navigated through the start to gain two positions over the first lap, although she retained third in class.
Martin ran consistently and set her fastest lap on lap 12 - just as the round of pit stop started.
She stayed out and climbed the order - running as high as fourth overall and second in class, after the stop of pole sitter Biglieri.
Keats took over on lap 16, when Charlie completed her her, handing over to her teammate. Back in third in class and 13th overall, Jason held position for a few laps, but was then under pressure from Hernandez Ortega - who found a way past on lap 20, and the fast charging Privitelio, who would get ahead four laps later.
In the closing stages, Keats did well to keep behind the #40 CMR Lamborghini of Bailly, and crossed the finish line in fifth place in class.
"We had a solid race one and stayed clear of trouble to bring the car home in P5, which gave us a good confidence boost to give it everything in the final race of the day", Charlie said.
Low temperatures and difficult grip conditions made for a tricky start to race two on Sunday morning, where Jason Keats was scheduled to take the start. The Canadian perfectly managed the start - masterfully avoiding a few spinning cars just ahead of him when several competitors made contact heading into the fast first corner.
From seventh, Keats was soon up to fifth and held position at the restart following a safety car neutralization. He would come under pressure from Serge Doms, who got by on lap 7. When the pit window opened two laps later, he took the way of the pitlane and Charlie Martin got behind the wheel of the #54 Lamborghini - rejoining 19th and last.
By immediately setting competitive lap times, Martin soon begin to make progress through the pack: as the pit window closed, she had recovered up to fourth in LC cup, running a couple of seconds per lap faster than the cars behind - and over one second faster than Martlé ahead.
On lap 17, Martin made a move stick on the Totaalplan Racing driver and advanced to third in class. Luciano Privitelio was placed under investigation for a potential pass under yellow but kept the lead, ahead of Jürgen Krebs and Charlie Martin - who significantly closed in with the fastest pace in class.
An issue for Privitelio dropped him behind Krebs - and Martin went past on lap 24, pushing through to catch Krebs six seconds ahead.
She unfortunately ran out of time and, after 27 laps, she crossed the finish line in second place in class - just three tenths of seconds behind the leader after a last lap charge - and P10 overall, in a really strong end of the weekend for the Brutal Fish Racing duo.
"It is great to be back on the podium once again and it feels like another reward for the hard work of everyone involved over the course of this season", Charlie commented.
"Jason did brilliant to avoid the incident ahead of him on the first lap and it felt great to be making up the places around a track that is very exciting to drive!"
Now all the focus is on the final round of the championship and the upcoming World Final, let's end this season on a high."
The sixth and final round of the European season is in fact scheduled for 16-17 November at the same track, while the North American, Asian and European teams will get together for the World Finals on 18-19 November.