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FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium - Romain Iannetta out-fought championship leader Ander Vilarino to capture the Endurance race of the Euro-Racecar Series' Elite Division Sunday at Spa-Francorchamps.
ENDURANCE ELITE : IANNETTA COMES BACK TO VICTORY LANE
After starting fourth, Iannetta (#25 Orhes Competition) took the lead of the race at the exit of the Raidillon de l’Eau Rouge.
The tricky bend had already claimed James Winslow (#18 Scorpus Racing), who retired, and Carole Perrin (#42 autosport 42), who was third in the Sprint portion but lost a lap because of a flat tire.
From the final race restart to the checkered flag, there was a big fight for the win between Iannetta and Vilarino (#2 TFT-Banco Santander), before Iannetta emerged with the first win of the season for Orhes Competition.
“It’s great," said Iannetta. "The start of the year was tought for the whole team. Despite two top-five finishes, the success wasn’t with us. After a transmission failure yesterday, we are now happy to win. The battle with Ander was intense and correct. We never touch each other and I was able to take the lead during the penultimate lap at Les Combes.”
Winner of four of the five first race before this Endurance, Vilarino held on for second.
“Complicated race," said Vilarino. "At the start I miss a gearshift on the frontstretch, which allowed Iannetta and Romain Thievin to pass me. When I overtook the #99 (Thievin) I touched him but I am sorry, it was unintentional. Then I fought with Iannetta, who was very clean. Congratulations to him, he deserves this victory. I would have liked winning today, but with a 1st and a 2nd place, the weekend can be considered as a success.”
Thievin (#99 Still Racing-Exotics Racing) ended the race 10th after the contact in the first lap.
Behind the championship leader, Javier Villa (#64 Gonneau Racing) saved his weekend with a third-place finish.
Romain Fournillier (#11 OverDrive-McDonald’s) and Freddy Nordstrom (#44 Orhes Competition) scored their first top-fives.
Wilfried Boucenna (#17 Pole Position 81) was sixth, followed by Dimitri Enjalbert (#33 OverDrive), who had a problem early in the race, Vincent Gonneau (#15 Gonneau Racing), Bruno Cosin (#55 Pole Position 81), 1st Challenger, and Thievin.
ENDURANCE OPEN: MARC DUEZ LIKES IT
A series Guest at Spa due to his experience at the track, Duez won the Open Division portion of the Endurance race.
After teammate Vilariño came back to the pit in second, a great pit stop produced by the team allowed the driver to restart in front of the field. The Belgian stayed in the lead until the end and won his first race.
A legend of Belgian racing history, Duez said he enjoyed the experience.
“I love the concept" Duez said. "Compared to what I've known in the past, I’ve never seen a series where cars are so equals each others. The level is high. It’s important to have a championship like that with a nice balance. I began to find the notice, but I still have to work a little bit more to fight with Elite drivers. I appreciate the invitation of Galpin family to give me the opportunity to take part to the race. It makes me feel like I would like to resume my career."
Vincent Gonneau (#15 Gonneau Racing), eighth of the Elite race, and Gerald Cormon (#25 Orhes Competition), completed the top-three.
Tanguy Ide (#44) and Philippe Marie (#88) finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
- With his victory, Romain Iannetta finishes in the top-3 for the first time this season. His best position before was a 5th place, twice in Nogaro and Brands Hatch.
- Ander Vilarino set the fastest lap of the race in 2’36”699 at 100,055 mph.
- With the 10th place of Romain Thievin, Ander Vilarino is now the only driver to have scored a top-3 in every race this season.
- Javier Villa celebrates his 4th podium of the season.
- Romain Fournillier, 2011 Open champion, scores his first top-5 finish in Elite, as well as the rookie Freddy Nordstrom.
- Vincent Gonneau sets his first top-10 in Elite division this season.
- Dimitri Enjalbert records his third 7th place, all of them during the Endurance race.
- Fourth time winner of the Challenger standing this year, Bruno Cosin scores his first top-10.