South Africa’s Perel stars at Vallelunga

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Race win & heroic comeback set David’s Italian GT Cup weekend apart

Cape Town’s David Perel had a busy Italian GT Cup championship weekend the at the twisty Vallelunga racetrack, barging to a dramatic first race win on Saturday before putting in a heroic comeback drive in to rescue fifth in race 2 aboard his damaged Peresoft Obox Bonaldi Lamborghini Gallardo.

Perel and regular Italian co-driver Mirko Zanardini opened their weekend by putting the Lamborghini onto the front row of the grid for both races as David clinched second for race 1 and Mirko put it on pole for race 2. “It should have been pole but couldn’t string the final sector together,” Perel described his quick lap. “I’ll make up for it in Race 1, but my teammate did an incredible job to nab us P1 for race two – Mirko’s lap was quite something, very impressive!

Perel then proceeded to deliver on his promise as he battled for the lead, which he ultimately grabbed, driving the Lamborghini Bergamo-run car in a daring move around the outside to set up a stunning race 1 win.

“I’m absolutely delighted about our win,” David admitted. “It was an epic battle for the lead with the three of us in a paint swapping session of note and all of us not just in with a chance for that race win, but we’re all fighting for the championship too. “We start race 2 on pole position but with this win we carry a 15 second handicap into that race — we have to wait an extra 15 seconds before leaving the pit after our stop as part of the series rules.”

Race 2 never started quite as the team would have wanted as Zanardini left the door open to lose the lead to a Porsche in turn 1, before being unceremoniously taken out by another Porsche in the second sweep and losing some 40 seconds as he recovered. Zanardini then drove back to 8th before handing the buckled car over to Perel, who put his head down to claw back 20 seconds on the leaders to end up fifth as he salvaged the team’s championship hopes against all odds.

“The car was bent in that first lap incident and the right rear suspension was toeing out quite dramatically, so I couldn’t fully commit to lefthand corners,” Perel explained. “It was very hairy and I was on the limit through the faster bits – I really couldn’t go any quicker.

“Anyway, it was a good weekend overall and we’re still third in the championship and just 13 points adrift with four races still to run, but we now need a little luck for once. “So it’s onwards and upwards – I’m really looking forward to making up in the next race.”

That next race is at Misano on the Adriatic coast in two weeks time (26-27 September). Find out more on David’s crowdfunding initiatives and keep up with preparations for Misano at www.davidperel.net.

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