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  • Writer's pictureRACERS

Charlie Martin secures first Lamborghini ST Europe class win

"Race one threw everything at us" – Charlie Martin kicked off her second season in Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe in spectacular fashion with her first class victory in the championship, as the British racer and teammate Jason Keats capitalized on a perfect strategy call and emerged from as the LC Cup winners in the heavy rain.

Charlie Martin, Brutal Fish Racing, 2024 Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe, Imola
Photo credits: Gianluca Sciarra

Charlie Martin kicked off her third season in Lamborghini Super Trofeo – her second in the European series – in spectacular fashion with her first class victory in the championship following a brilliant run in race 1 at Imola, where the Brutal Fish Racing duo survived extreme weather conditions and made the most of a perfect strategy call to win the opening race in the LC Cup class.

The British racer returned to the European division of the Lamborghini one-make series again teaming up with Canadian Jason Keats, aboard the Osom-sponsored #54 Huracan Super Trofeo Evo2 operated by Slovak outfit Brutal Fish Racing.

Their first season in Europe brought highly promising results, including several class podiums that saw Martin coming close to her first win on multiple occasions: she in fact collected silverware at Paul Ricard, Nürburgring, Valencia and Vallelunga, and took a breakthrough pole position at Spa, where she preceded the competition by a massive seven tenths of a second.

Eyeing more progress in their third season as teammates, Martin and Keats headed to Imola for the Super Trofeo's first ever race in support of the FIA World Endurance Championship – in a record field of 52 entries.

A narrow and technical track with minimal run-off, Autodromo Enzo and Dino Ferrari in Imola also presented weather challenges to the drivers of Lamborghini Super Trofeo. The practice sessions were nevertheless contested in dry conditions and Charlie Martin was fourth fastest in LC Cup, having clocked a 1:46.702 lap before she handed over to her teammate.

Charlie was again fourth in the second practice – and Keats also significantly improved his lap times, closing the gap to under 2 seconds to his teammate.

Martin took on driving duties for Q1 on Saturday morning and was fastest on her first run; while ASR's Biglieri found more time and secured the first pole position of the year, Martin also improved on her final lap and her 1:45.001 was good enough for P4 in LC Cup.

Jason Keats got behind the wheel for Q2 and made a further step up, eventually finishing sixth fastest for the session that would set the grid of race 2.

The 52 car field accelerated away for the first 50 minute contest of the weekend – but a spin on the main straight among the Pro cars postponed the green flag by one lap.

Charlie Martin had a good getaway in the extremely busy field and moved up the overall order, retaining fourth in class, ahead of Alfredo Hernandez. Charlie pushed through and gained a few more positions overall, as she tried to catch up with the closest LC Cup competitors.

The sky, meanwhile, was turning pitch-black and heavy wind suggested that rain was approaching. Martin kept moving up and survived a contact at Variante Alta where she spun but quickly rejoined – immediately reclaiming fourth place in class. As the conditions worsened, the safety car was deployed just before the pit window.

During the caution, teams opted to pit for their driver change and most of the crews went for the wet weather tyres. Having pitted among the first group of cars, Charlie Martin handed over to Jason Keats – who made the most out of the strategy call and moved all the way up into the class lead and into the overall top 10. A severe thunderstorm had hit the track and all the teams that had not immediately pitted struggled; Gillion crashed heavily at the exit of Acque Minerali while in safety car conditions, highlighting the extremely challenging conditions and visibility.

Keats held on and made no mistakes in his crucial laps behind the safety car. When the track became undrivable, the red flag had to be deployed with 15 minutes to go.

As a result, Charlie Martin and Jason Keats took their first victory in LC Cup, courtesy of a flawless strategy by the Brutal Fish Racing Team. The eighth place overall was also their best ever result across the previous seasons.

"Race one threw everything at us, a chaotic restart, wind tearing trees onto the track, thunder and lightning, darkness and zero visibility… with 52 cars on track it was intense!" – Charlie Martin explained. "The team made some great calls on strategy to take advantage of the safety car and we both drove a solid race."

Thunders and lightning made way for blue skies for the second race on Sunday morning, where Jason Keats was back behind the wheel of the #54 Huracan for the first half of the race from sixth among the LC Cup entries.

The Canadian had to manage the extremely busy field at the start and dropped to eighth, although he ran on par with the cars ahead, following Matic, Privitelio and Seale closely. He made a move on Matic on lap 2, just before the safety car was deployed for the accident of Spinkiewicz at Tosa.

At the restart, a further accident at Tosa involved three more cars and again required the intervention of the pace car; Keats successfully avoided the pile up just ahead of him and gained positions overall, retaining seventh in class. He would move up to sixth when Seale was handed a penalty for overtaking under caution.

Despite a few more incidents at the restart, the race stayed green; the pit window – which had been postponed by three minutes – opened and cars took to the pit lane on lap 11. Keats pitted from sixth and handed over to Charlie Martin – who rejoined eighth in LC Cup. during the pit cycle.

Charlie was on a mission and attacked the AM car of Freymuth for overall position and found herself back up to sixth in LC Cup after the round of pit stops was completed. Over a second faster than the cars ahead, the British driver now had a few AM entries in between her closest class competitors to pass. When Stephan Guerin spun and beached his Schumacher CLRT Huracan in the gravel of the Villeneuve chicane, the intervention of the safety car was bad news for Martin, who had been stuck behind AM cars and ran out of time to catch her closest class competitors.

The race eventually ended under safety car, and Charlie Martin and Jason Keats had to settle for seventh in class.

"Race two wasn’t quite so lucky for us, multiple safety car periods prevented us from improving our position", Charlie said. "In my stint I was blocked by an AM car that refused to let me pass, very frustrating as he stopped me catching LC cars ahead", she continued. "We came away with P7 in class and solid points to add the win, so we’re keen to get to Spa."

The Belgian iconic circuit of Spa Francorchamps will in fact host the second round of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe season on 9-11 May, again in support of the FIA World Endurance Championship. Martin will thus return to the track where she had showed dominant qualifying pace, aiming to build upon her first class victory at Imola.



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