FFF Racing Team by ACM secured two fifth-placed positions last weekend (1-2 July, 2017) as the GT Open International Series visited the Hungaroring for rounds seven and eight of the championship.
Vitantonio Liuzzi and Hiroshi Hamaguchi teamed up once again at the wheel of the #555 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 in what was a successful weekend for the Chinese-based squad after a tough race weekend at Paul Ricard.
“The FFF crew and Lamborghini Squadra Corse did an amazing job in dismantling the complete car and repairing it after our unfortunate fire at the previous round of the GT Open,” said FFF Racing Team Owner Sean Fu Songyang. “Our car was reliable and performed flawlessly, but we were not lucky with the start in both races.
“Other cars did not respect the starting procedure and we lost several places right from the start. As it is difficult to overtake, we lost some time behind slower cars, but both drivers showed great race-craft and fought hard to gain some precious places. We'll take advantage of the summer break to work even harder on performance so as to obtain the results the drivers and the team deserve!”
The weekend kicked off on a positive note with the second fastest time in the Pro-Am class in the first and second free-practice sessions.
Liuzzi took part in the first qualifying session, recording the sixth best time overall, and was once again second in class. However, as Liuzzi raced hard into turn one, he found himself pushed wide and this dropped to 12th position overall.
With a light brush at the hairpin, Liuzzi was quickly past the #74 Mercedes as he set his sights on the #21 Lamborghini ahead. Liuzzi continued to make progress until he too found himself under pressure from the #8 Ferrari in what would become a tight battle for eighth position overall. A small error saw Liuzzi run wide at the chicane and slightly offline, he lost the place with the #16 Mercedes also taking advantage.
At half distance, Hamaguchi took over and he too found the close racing a challenge, as he sought to close down the four second deficit to the #22 ahead in eighth. A small moment saw Thomas Jager take advantage and the Japanese driver duly finished 11th overall, fifth in class.
Having qualified fifth in class, Hamaguchi lined up 12th overall for the second Hungarian race. A tough start however saw him pushed down to sixth in class, chasing the #8 Ferrari. It was a close battle, but given the tight and twisty nature of the Hungaroring, he was unable to make the pass.
The pit stop however with 34 minutes remaining as Liuzzi took over, saw the team vault ahead of the Ferrari and Liuzzi quickly got into a race rhythm and was able to progress to ninth place on track.
The Italian found himself in a great battle with the #11, #8 and #20 with ten minutes remaining, defending his position over the closing laps to take the chequered flag ninth on track, fourth in class. Unfortunately, a track limits time penalty of five-seconds dropped him behind the very cars he had been battling so hard with, and he was classified 11th, fifth in class.
With three race weekends remaining, the International GT Open championship takes a short summer break, before heading to Silverstone 2-3 September.