Toro Verde GT racing team experienced mixed fortunes during the opening event of the first Fanatec GT2 European Series at Monza in Italy, with a best result of fifth place in Pro-Am for drivers David Fairbrother and Jordan Witt.
Running in the podium placings throughout his stint during the first half of race one on Saturday afternoon, Witt impressed during his maiden outing with the Fortec supported team’s number nine Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo GT2.
Fairbrother completed the second stint of race one fifth in the Pro-Am class and sixth overall.
Hopes of another strong challenge in round two on Sunday, though, were ended before the start when the car’s brakes locked, meaning it could not even complete the formation lap.
“It was obviously a mixed weekend for us in terms of the results, especially not being able to even start race two, but there was a lot of promise with the car and it really was fantastic to be back in a Lamborghini – especially at a high-speed track like Monza”, said Witt.
“We had the potential to be on the podium in Saturday’s race, so that was mega, and there is a lot for us to build on.
“I had a great time working with the Toro Verde GT guys and we’re all looking forward to the next round in Germany next month.
“I’d like to thank my sponsors Vibe Audio, Yelir World and also Fortec for getting us on the grid this year in GT2. There’s much more to come as the season unfolds.”
During the first qualifying sessions of the season on Friday 16th April, Witt took the opening 20-minute run and was seventh fastest with a time of 1.51.702, the quickest of the Lamborghinis. In session two, Fairbrother lapped in 1.54.167 to end his run 10th.
Saturday’s race began well for experienced endurance racer Witt, who stormed away at the rolling start to leap into fifth place.
Contact just ahead at the first corner meant he had to hit the brakes hard to avoid being caught-up in the incident, allowing him to emerge from the turn in an improved fourth position.
As a result of Luca Pirri’s Audi GT2 being stranded in the gravel, the Safety Car was deployed for a lap.
At the restart, Witt heavily pressured Joseph Collado for third position and produced a fantastic pass into the Ascari Chicane to move up onto the podium.
With the top two having been able to escape up the road after the lap one incident, Witt spent the rest of his time in the car in third and eventually handed the Toro Verde GT car over to Fairbrother with 14 laps under his belt.
Fairbrother joined the race in sixth overall, fifth in Pro-Am, after the mandatory pit-stop and during the final few minutes he came under huge pressure from the KTM of Adrian Spescha, but he fended off his rival with great skill.
Out of the Parabolica at the end of the penultimate lap, Spescha was able to get the inside line and they ran side-by-side into the final tour. Fairbrother smartly held onto the position into the Rettifilo Chicane and he kept the KTM at bay to the chequered flag.
For round two on Sunday morning, Fairbrother was due to start, but the Lamborghini remained stranded on the grid as the formation lap began due to the brakes being locked on. Try as the team might, the issue could not be resolved, and the car was hoisted onto a recovery truck and taken back to the pit lane.
David Fairbrother commented: “I’m very happy to be involved in the first race of a new championship.
“It’s a major step for Toro Verde and myself to be competing at this level. I would like to thank all the team and Lamborghini for creating a fast car, and to my teammate for a great weekend, all be it with a hint of what may have been.
“Thank you to Fortec and all my other sponsors, looking forward to Hockenheim.”
The two drivers left Monza in sixth position in the Pro-Am class, thanks to the 10 points earned in Race One.
Hockenheim in Germany will host the second round of the Fanatec GT2 European Series over the weekend 14-15th May.
(Images courtesy of GT2 European Series)