Podium start to Italian GT Championship for Middleton at Pergusa

Podium start to Italian GT Championship for Middleton at Pergusa

24.05.2021: • Victory bid on Italian GT debut for Stuart Middleton ends with P3 • Star qualifying from British ace on series bow with P1 in his session • BRDC Rising Star makes huge impression on first full GT3 outing

•    Victory bid on Italian GT debut for Stuart Middleton ends with P3

•    Star qualifying from British ace on series bow with P1 in his session

•    BRDC Rising Star makes huge impression on first full GT3 outing

Hugely talented British racing driver Stuart Middleton produced an outstanding performance on his debut in the Italian GT Endurance Championship at Pergusa in Sicily on Sunday, 23rd May, to take a richly deserved podium finish after challenging hard for the race victory.

Under glorious blue skies, the 21-year-old from Ashington in Northumberland helped steer Imperiale Racing’s No.63 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO to a third place result in the opening three-hour race of his maiden season in the category.

Teaming with Italian racers Andrea Amici and Alberto Di Folco, British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) Rising Star Middleton delivered a sensational performance in qualifying on Saturday, 22nd May, to lap quickest in his session by almost half a second.

In the race, his first at full GT3 level, he was similarly spectacular during the middle stint which he led handsomely by almost half-a-minute before an unfortunate Safety Car period. In the end, the rapid Imperiale trio had to settle for third position.


“For my first time in a GT3 car, my first time at Pergusa as well, I really can’t complain with a podium”, said a buzzing Middleton, “Qualy was really good, I was really happy with my pace and to be 0.4 seconds quicker than anyone in my session was mega. To be honest, we were unlucky not to get the overall P1 but Alberto [Di Folco] just couldn’t get a lap in during his session.

“Even from P4 on the grid though we had a great race and the team did a fantastic job. In my stint I was really in the zone, I feel I’m driving better than ever and the car is so good – it gives you so much confidence. Even after the Safety Car I built a bit of a gap again. There are a lot of positives to take away, we were a bit unlucky but third at such a crazy track, which is a real car killer, is a result.”

Middleton makes his mark with superb Rd1 performance

After a highly competitive run for all three drivers in practice on Saturday, Amici took the first of the three qualifying runs and set a best lap of 1m34.886 seconds to go second quickest. Di Folco ran in session three and had to settle for ninth fastest, a lap of 1m36.401 seconds.

Session two was where the star performance was delivered with Middleton producing a remarkable showing. Only heading out halfway through, the Briton instantly went third fastest on his first flying lap and then improved to second. As the times tumbled he went quicker still and on his last lap of the session he delivered a sensational best of 1m34.083 seconds, topping the times by 0.4 seconds

With each drivers’ fastest lap added together, the combined time meant a fourth place grid slot for Sunday morning’s race. Di Folco took the opening stint of the three-hour encounter and after holding position off the rolling start, he immediately swarmed all over the back of Lorenzo Ferrari.

Pressuring the Audi driver hard, Di Folco made the breakthrough on lap two and rapidly closed the 1.4 second gap to the Ferrari of Matteo Greco. Following an early Safety Car period Di Folco sized up an attack, but a slight wobble on lap 13 opened the door for Matteo Cressoni to move into third.

Having slipped back from the podium battle, Di Folco worked his way back into contention and on lap 23 he passed Greco’s Ferrari to move back into the top three. At the end of hour one Di Folco pitted to hand over the Lamborghini Huracan to Middleton – the first of the top three to stop.

Joining the race in third, when the front-running order settled Middleton was 10 seconds behind second position but immediately started to close the gap. Then, on lap 39, Stefano Comandini’s BMW tagged one of the chicane tyre stacks and Middleton swept past into second.

Into lap 42 he was nine seconds behind the race leading Ferrari and in sector one alone sliced 1.7 seconds off the advantage. The next time around as they crossed the line Middleton was only 5.8 seconds adrift, just as the Safety Car appeared due to the dislodged trye stack.

At the re-start on lap 46 he was on the tail of the No.21 Ferrari and wasted no time whatsoever in moving into the lead, producing a great pass into the first corner before putting the hammer down. Within a single lap his lead was 4.6 seconds, by the start of lap 47 this had incredibly almost doubled.

Opening a gap of more than 26 seconds by lap 61, vexingly his terrific lead was then decimated by the appearance of the Safety Car after the No.21 machine expired in a cloud of smoke. Racing then resumed on lap 63 and Middleton started to build a gap again before pitting at the end of hour two.

All the while, the Imperiale squad kept an eye on the lead gap with a five second penalty to be applied post-race for a yellow flag infringement. Amici took over and joined the action in second with just over 55 minutes to run, the No.12 Audi having assumed the lead when Middleton pitted.

When the stops had been completed, the Audi emerged just 0.5 seconds ahead but it was able to pull away. Amici’s attention had to turn to the advancing Giancarlo Fisichella in the No.27 Ferrari who was closing quickly, but the Imperiale racer did well under pressure to keep the former Grand Prix winner at bay. At the flag, with the penalty applied, Amici missed second by just 0.6 seconds.

Next on the Italian GT Endurance Championship schedule is a visit to Mugello in Tuscany over the weekend 3rd/4th July for round two of the season.

2021 Italian GT Endurance Championship Standings (after Rd1)
3rd Stuart Middleton/Andrea Amici/Alberto Di Folco, 12pts

Marc Orme Media & PR- photos Italian GT

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/podium-start-italian-gt-middleton-pergusa---223955.html

24.05.2021 / MaP

More News

Sicilian crescendo in Italian GT Endurance sealed by Audi Sport Italia first win of the season
• At old-style Pergusa, an early race mishap that sidelined Basz/Postiglione/Salaquarda car, did not stop come-from-behind win by stubborn trio Agostini/Drudi/Ferrari Across three decades of domestic motorsport activities Audi Sport Italia had no more >>
Excitement builds for Alberto Di Folco ahead of Italian GT endurance opener at Pergusa
Following a successful season opener last April at Monza, where he claimed the pole position to clinch the Race 2 victory in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe for Imperiale Racing, Alberto Di Folco is set for the Italian GT Endurance curtain-raiser this coming weekend at Pergusa, driving a Huracán GT3 Evo car of the Modena-based squad with the Lamborghini Genève support. more >>
Victory and leadership in the GT Open for Michele Beretta
Beretta wins race-2 in the first round of the International GT Open at Paul Ricard and is the leader of the championship thanks to an excellent job done with the team, the Vincenzo Sospiri Racing and his team mate Frederik Schandorff. Michele made his debut more >>
Lamborghini kicks off International GT Open season with victory and points lead
    Schandorff and Beretta lead VS Racing one-two in second Paul Ricard race    Lamborghini also claims GT Open Am class one-two result    Lamborghini recorded a sensational one-two finish more >>
Pro-Am victory for JP Motorsport in Paul Ricard
The start of the International GT Open season presented JP Motorsport with a challenge. After a strong performance in qualifying, the McLaren 720s with Christian Klien on board had to finish the race on the first lap through no fault of his own. A successful comeback followed on Sunday with the fourth overall place in the second race, resulting in the Pro-Am victory at the Circuit Paul Ricard. more >>
Beretta at Paul Ricard for the 1st round of the International GT Open
On the eve of the first round of the International GT Open Michele is looking forward to tackling this new engagement at the wheel of the Lamborghini. With Frederik Schandorff and the Vincenzo Sospiri Racing alongside him, he has what it takes to aim for the top of the championship.  more >>
Motorsport leads sporting resurgence in China
 Shanghai International Circuit, ChinaAfter a sabbatical of more than 12-months, sporting competition in China is finally starting to return to venues all across the country despite the ongoing effects of the pandemic which continues to more >>
JP Motorsport starting highly motivated into the GT Open header
The International GT Open event in Paul Ricard is on the agenda of JP Motorsport this weekend. Christian Klien and Patryk Krupinski will be racing with the McLaren 720S GT3 for the first time.   Paul Ricard. JP Motorsport is kicki more >>
AKM Motorsport by Antonelli gears up for curtain raiser at Le Castellet
INTERNATIONAL GT OPEN AND GT OPEN CUP       AKM Motorsport by Antonelli starts its International GT Open campaign at Le Castellet this coming weekend, 14/16 May. The San Marino-based squad, in its third year with the Mercedes, will line-up two AMG more >>
Coppa Italia - From seventh on the grid to the podium
On the second weekend of the Italian club sport racing series Coppa Italia Turismo Carlotta Fedeli managed a remarkable recovery in the first sprint. The 29-year-old driver had started seventh in the Audi RS 3 LMS fielded by RC Motorsport at Imo more >>
Two Audi successes in New Zealand
At the season opener of the North Island Endurance Series in New Zealand, two trophies went to Audi customer teams. In the one-hour category, Anthony Leighs steered his Audi R8 LMS to third place overall at Pukekohe. Long-stand more >>
ESET Cup - Podium finish in the Slovak Republic
Petr Kacirek clinched a trophy for Team Duck Racing in the second round of the Eset Cup. The Czech crossed the finish line in third place in the GT3 class in the Audi R8 LMS in the second sprint race at the Slovakiaring. more >>
Audi victory in Norway
The Norwegian GT race series featured an Audi R8 LMS for the first time. Local race driver Wiggo Dalmo won the first sprint with a ten-second advantage on the Vålerbanen circuit in the inaugural event. In the seco more >>
Three trophies in China for Audi customer team
The Audi customer team YC Racing started the new GT Super Sprint Challenge race series at Shanghai with a good result. Ray Wu from China in the team’s Audi R8 LMS improved from fourth on the grid to second position in the Am Masters class in the first race. In the second race, Xing Yanbin in another Audi R8 LMS overtook his more >>
Defending Ginetta GT5 Challenge Team Champions begin season in stunning style
Elite Motorsport score seven podiums including two wins in opening race at ThruxtonReigning Ginetta GT5 Challenge Team champions Elite Motorsport got this year’s series off to a flying start when the Norfolk team scored a total of seven pod more >>
Elite Motorsport placed second in Michelin Ginetta Junior Standings
Norfolk team score four podiums in opening Junior weekend action at Thruxton Elite Motorsport’s Seb Hopkins heads for the next rounds of the Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship next month leading the Driver's championship with Elite placed second in the more >>
Double rookie podium for Richardson Racing in Ginetta opener
Richardson Racing secured a brace of rookie class podium finishes from the opening rounds of the new Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship season at Thruxton.The Corby-based team headed for the more >>
Breakell Racing Impress On Ginetta Debut at Thruxton
Breakell Racing enjoyed a fantastic debut weekend of Ginetta competition at Thruxton (08/09 May), with a standout performance seeing Max Coates qualify on the front row and challenge for a podium finish in the Protyre Motorsport Ginetta GT5 Challenge.The Lanca more >>
Podium Success for Lamborghini in New GT Super Sprint Challenge at Shanghai Circuit
•    Xu Jia second in opening GTSSC race at Shanghai International Circuit•    Ray Lou leads Super Trofeo Class after two races•    New all-Am series marks Asian debut for Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo in GT2 specification more >>
Motus One Racing’s 650S GT3 proves potential in changeable conditions
Motus One Racing’s Moorgate Motorsport Finance McLaren 650S GT3 scored two top-three class podium finishes in only its second Britcar Endurance Championship event at Snetterton yesterday (8 May). The Will Powell/Dave Scaramanga McLaren finished both more >>
China GT Super Sprint Challenge 2021 calendar
GT Super Sprint Challenge 2021 Provisional CalendarMay 8-9: Shanghai International CircuitJune 12-13: Zhuzhou International CircuitJuly 3-4: Zhuzhou International CircuitAugust 28-29: Ningbo International SpeedparkSeptember 11-12: Shanghai International Circuit more >>
Eleven-Car Lamborghini Entry for New GT Super Sprint Challenge China
•    Squadra Corse-supported Climax Racing and Phantom Pro Racing join Grid Motorsport in GT3 class for brand new all-Am GT sprint series•    Asian debut for Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo in GT2 specification in points-scoring ST Class•    Five-round, 10-race series gets under more >>
Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific customers return to racing in new GT Super Sprint Challenge series
•    New GT Super Sprint Challenge series launches in Shanghai•    Kris Wu to race as Porsche China Motorsport Representative for first time•    Porsche represented in all three classes more >>
Jay Morton races into Britcar Championship with Praga and Motus One
SAS Veteran and Who dares wins star Morton’s races mark the beginning of Motus One Racing and Praga Cars UK’s R1 Driver Development Programme Former SAS operator and two-time Everest summiteer Jay Morton is the first to experience an exciting association betwe more >>
Wolf Racing Cars kicks off the CISP 2021 season and strikes a poker at the Australian Prototype Series
Wolf Racing Cars kicked off its season on a high last weekend in Monza in the fourth year as the soul of the Italian Sports Prototypes 2018-2022 with the successful Wolf GB08 Thunder pushed by the Aprilia 1.0 engine and fitting Yokohama tyres. The new single-make formula for the sports prototypes developed by the Italian manufacturer did not experience any crisis as 21 Thunder challengers got o more >>
Imperiale Racing takes Italian GT Sprint 2021 Championship podium in Monza
Excitement and twists characterized the opening round of the Italian GT Sprint 2021 Championship that has been run in Monza and Imperiale Racing confirmed its value with the usual grit being among the protagonists of the highest class of the Italian GT cars.The Mirandola-based te more >>
Richardson Racing confirms multi-car assault on 2021 Ginetta Junior Championship
Richardson Racing can today confirm that it will field a multi-car line-up in the 2021 Michelin Ginetta Junior Championship, which kicks off this weekend at Thruxton.The Corby-based team will head into the new season looking to maintain the front-running form it more >>
Italian GT Championship: BMW Team Italia takes victory at season-opener
The Italian GT Championship kicked off the 2021 season on the first weekend in May in Monza (ITA).   Among those in action again: BMW Team Italia. It proved to be a successful start to the season for the #215 BMW M4 GT4. more >>
BMW M2 CS Racing Cup Italy: First races of the season in Monza
The BMW M2 CS Racing Cup Italy held its first races of the 2021 season in Monza, Italy on the first weekend of May. Race one on Saturday saw heavy rain. The first win of the year was secured by Filippo Maria Zanin (ITA) in the #19 BMW M2 CS Racing of Pro Motorsport BMW more >>
Top five Lamborghini finishes in Italian GT Championship opener at Monza
Meanwhile, across the pond in Italy, Lamborghini enjoyed a promising start to the Italian GT Championship season with a pair of top five finishes in the opening Sprint Cup race of the year at Monza.Imperiale Racing’s new partnership of Ale more >>
Audi Sport Italia drivers claim first and second place in the Italian GT Sprint after Monza opener
• On Sunday afternoon Riccardo Agostini defends for ten laps with tooth and nail the second position that Lorenzo Ferrari had snatched in qualifying, and the duo is runnerup after two races, albeit level on points with the rival duo• Vito Postig more >>
AKM Motorsport by Antonelli continues Italian GT charge with Baruch / Segu pairing
AKM Motorsport by Antonelli has defined its Italian GT Sprint program since the Monza curtain-raiser this coming weekend.The San Marino-based squad headed by Marco Antonelli continues its commitment in the high-level championship with a young pairing, fielding a Mercede more >>
Sherwood drafted in to Elite's Ginetta Junior squad
Leicestershire teenager chooses Norfolk team for first year in carsJack Sherwood will compete for Elite Motorsport in this year’s Ginetta Junior Championship which gets underway at Thruxton early next month (8-9 May). The Leicestershire-based youngster more >>
Riccardo Agostini set for 2021 Italian GT opener at Monza
The Padova based racer returns to the series with Audi Sport Italia pairing with youngster Lorenzo Ferrari          Riccardo Agostini is set for the Italian GT challenge as the 2021 season starts this weekend at Monza. more >>
Imperiale Racing in the Italian GT Sprint Championship with Frassineti-Ghiotto and Cazzaniga-Llarena
Imperiale Racing not only confirmed its presence in the Italian GT Sprint Championship, but also doubled it. Two Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo will be fielded in fact this year with the official Lamborghini numbering: the #63 car will be driven by Alex Frassineti (ITA) and Luca Ghiotto (ITA) and the #19 by Riccardo Cazzaniga (ITA) and Mateo Llarena (GUA). more >>
Britcar - Audi Victory at Silverstone
The Simpson Motorsport team started the Britcar Endurance Series season with two good results in its class. Hugo Cook/Sacha Kakad finished second in their class in the first race at Silverstone. In the second race, the driver duo clinched the win by 14 seconds. more >>
Motus One Racing's McLaren impresses on Britcar debut
Moorgate Motorsport Finance McLaren 650S GT3 leads race outright before recording class podiumMotus One Racing’s Moorgate Motorsport Finance McLaren 650S GT3 made a big impact in its maiden Britcar Endurance Championship races at Silverstone to more >>
Four car assault for GDL Racing in the Porsche Sports Cup Suisse opener
Cordoni, Rayneri,Blom and Roberto/Samuele Bosio pairing set for this weekend round at the Red Bull RingGDL Racing is set for the Porsche Sports Cup Suisse opener this coming weekend at the Red Bull Ring. The team headed by Gianluca De Lorenzi will field more >>
The ESET Cup Series is held in various countries of Eastern Europe
The Mercedes-AMG GT3s won all three races at the Hungaroring in the GT3 category, managing one podium lockout and a one-two finish. Marcin Jedlinski (POL) of Olimp Racing delivered two of the three class wins. In the first sprint race, he took the chequered flag ahead of his father and team-mate Stanislaw Jedlinski (POL) and Aliyyah Koloc (CZE) of Buggyra Zero more >>


2001-2023 automobilsport.com full copyright