Cape Town racer David Perel enjoyed a weekend to remember when he and Italian Peresoft Bonaldi Lamborghini co-driver Mirko Zanardini stormed to double wins to clinch second overall in the 2015 Italian GT Cup championship at Mugello on Sunday.
The duo took a pole position each before storming to dominant victories in both races to take their win tally to five – the most by any team in the series – and steal second overall in a count-back that saw those extra victories clinch the place. Perel and Zanardini had lost any realistic hope of taking a title they had looked good for when car trouble saw them retire from both races at Misano’s penultimate round
But the racing gods seemed to be smiling on the Italo-South African duo from the outset when each driver put the Lamborghini Bergamo entry on pole position for Saturday and Sunday’s final races.
“Pole position at Mugello!” a delighted Perel pointed out. ”Qualifying was damp but we were quick on every lap and Mirko also managed pole position for the race he starts, so we are really very happy.”
The races went well too, Zanardini starting the first race and putting in a good stint before handing over to Perel, who emerged from the box in third position but was soon in the lead before clearing off to a memorable win. “We won!’ Perel reported. “We were P3 after the pitstop, 12 seconds back and I drove like crazy to take the lead with 3 laps to go. “We are incredibly happy!”
Winning race 1 has a twist in the tail, as David explained Sunday morning: “It’s the final race of the season and I start from Pole Position, but we carry a 15 second handicap because we won yesterday which means that during our pitstop we have to wait an extra 15 seconds before leaving. “I start, Mirko gets in second — I’ll try my best to build up a lead, but you never know.”
Perel however drove a storming first stint to hand the Lamborghini over to Zanardini, who was able to re-join in front even after that 15-second first race victory penalty; before driving home to a brilliant double victory in spite of championship equalisation rules doing their utmost to prevent such a thing.
Even better was that Perel and Zanardini stole second in the championship when their efforts saw them drawing level on points with the Maino/Selva Porsche, but having won five races versus their rivals’ four, the Lamborghini duo took the title second after the Pastronelli brothers wrapped the title up in the first race.
“Heading into this race, the only thing I was thinking was to keep it trouble free,” Perel reflected. “But it turned out much better – we managed two poles and two wins this weekend, which is a first in the category this year.
“I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve achieved in my first full year of circuit racing,” David concluded. “Hopefully next year I can go one better but I have to say a huge word of thanks to my team and everyone who helped me throughout the year. “It’s been a humbling experience.”