Rossi and Davidson Finally Seal The Deal in Belgium Victory

Matteo Rossi and Roland Davidson secured Aston Martin’s maiden victory in the Rolex GT Super Series at the Round of Belgium at Spa-Francorchamps.

After losing first and then second at the start to Evgeny Restov and Fabian Rei respectively, Rossi would hang tough with the leading two as they started to break away from the pack behind in the opening segment of the race. While Restov’s lead would go unopposed, the Italian would get back past Rei for second twenty five minutes into the race before settling in as the first round of pit stops closed in. The big winners from the first round of pit stops was the Carson Speedworks Corvette of Oliver Jones, jumping to the lead after using the undercut to their advantage to jump well ahead in the order, demoting James James Davies to second and Roland Davidson back to third place.

But early into the middle stint, Davies was called to pit again with BMS Scuderia Italia putting on the incorrect compound of Pirelli tires on their Ferrari 550 during the scheduled pit stop; the cool conditions catching them out. Also having to pit again would be Jacques Malenfant in a Carson Corvette. The unscheduled pit stop for Davies promoted Roland Davidson to second place as he started to hunt down the leading Carson Corvette being driven by Oliver Jones. Davidson would take the lead and not look back during the middle stint of the race, passing the factory Chevrolet at the bus stop chicane at the one hour mark of the two hour race.

Behind them, the championship leaders in the 02 Solvalou Lamborghini took a major gamble on pit strategy and elected to pit three laps before the second pit window was projected to open. Chris Winter struggled for pace in the first stint of the race and dropped out of the top ten before it was time to hand over to Calinetic F1 driver Einar Armansson. Einar started to work back up the field in the middle stint, with the help of Denis van Walwijk and Ryota Wong retiring from ahead of them on track, before the call was made to pit early. Einar would stay in the car and put on a tear, putting in the then fastest lap of the race before Matteo Rossi got put back in the Gulf Aston Martin in the last pit stop for the Gulf Aston Martin. He responded in kind, putting up the fastest lap of the race that would stand for the rest of the race.

But the ploy from the championship leader wouldn’t pay off, Rossi would pass Einar with twenty minutes remaining, cutting down a ten second gap since the pit stops cycled out before Einar was called in to pit for fuel with ten minutes left in the race. Armannsson would be stuck behind a mid-field battle unable to get back in the points, and Matteo Rossi would have clear running for the rest of the race and would take his first overall win since France in 2016, and the first victory for co driver Roland Davidson, Gulf Racing, and Aston Martin in the championship.

After leading at the start of the second stint, Qi and Jones would have a quiet race and finish second overall, albeit fifteen seconds behind the winners. Finishing third on the road was the Gerald Pereria Lister of Paul Travesen and Shane Sparks, a further seven seconds behind Qi and Jones; but would be classified as finishing eighth after the pair accumulated a pair of fifteen second penalties for causing collisions with James Douglas’s Saleen on the first lap of the race, and the classified third place finisher in Antonio Fazio in the other Solvalou Lamborghini. Travesen and Sparks both rode the rear bumpers of the cars ahead under braking and caused them to spin at Stavelot and Campus respectively.

Finishing fourth overall is the Scuderia Italia pair of Evgeny Restov and James James Davies, with a strong display of pace after their unscheduled pit stop for tires. Davies would get back into the top ten in the middle stint, only running into resistance in the form of Redur Jaffer late into the stint before clearing the Best In The World Lamborghini in the final round of pit stops. Their strong pace would continue, passing Gia Van Dycke and Darren Older Jr. in the run to the flag. Older Jr. and co driver Valeri Kozar would take home the Independent Class crown after the Scuderia Belgio Ferrari suffered a suspension failure late in the race after the pair battled for the class win to close out the race. The retirement of the Belgio Ferrari promoted the Setou/Jaffer Lamborghini to second in class, sixth overall.

Moving onto the final step of the podium for the independent class was the LKM Lamborghini of Harry Wilkinson and Carlton Cho, who benefited from the retirement of the Kikkawa/Gauthier Corvette to move into position where they could get on the podium. Their strong pit strategy combined with the retirement of the Belgio Ferrari led them to getting their best result of the season thus far since their ninth place at Silverstone. Bettering their best finish of the year would be the other factory Aston Martin driven by John Magnus and Olivia Geiszler, who wound up on top of their race long battle with the LKM Lamborghini; the finished seventh overall, one place higher than their previous best for the season which was also at Silverstone. Rounding out the top ten would be the Carson Speedworks Corvette of Alliot and Malenfant, who got their recovery drive on track in the final stint after being stuck behind the People’s Republic Ferrari 575 after their unscheduled pit stop.

Race Results – After 53 Laps

303MLe Fay/FazioSolvalou+36.647
428MRestov/DaviesScuderia Italia+37.168
556IOlder Jr./KozarCommonwealth+38.047
611ISetou/JafferBest In The World+45.481
7007MMagnus/GeiszlerFalken Tire+48.666
841MTravesen/SparksGerald Pereria+55.121
11555IA.+V. Reyna-SanchezTom Douglas+1:10.742
1355IDouglas/MelroseTom Douglas+1:14.106
163IBourne/TuckerBoutsen Ginion+1:15.447
1830IJenkins/PellerinGlobex Scorpio+1:21.904
2009IMelvanov/KabirovChris Short+1:34.834
2199IEinfeldt/von SchweigerPeople's Republic+1 Lap
2257IShidehara/FitzgeraldCWG+5 Laps*
2345IBertinelli/FeldhofferEuromotor+5 Laps*
2421IVan Dycke/SeronBelgioSuspension
262IKikkawa/GauthierBoutsen GinionEngine
2814MRei/WongGerald PereriaEngine
2927Mvan Walwijk/ConstantiniScuderia ItaliaSpun Off

Fastest Lap – Car 6 (Gulf Aston Martin – Rossi/Davidson) – 2:09.677

Infinite Improbability Drive of the Race  –  James James Davies: The former world champion drove like one in a big way, picking up the pieces after another strategy botch from BMS Scuderia Italia.

Reject of the Race – Federico Navarro: His first appearance in the main race since Silverstone and he spent it spinning multiple times before a gearbox failure gave his teammate a merciful exit.