The Swede took both victories in the last round of the season and completed a sensational comeback over Davide Uboldi and Matteo Roccadelli (BHK Motorsport)
Emil Hellberg is the new Italian Sports Prototype Champion: thanks to victory in race-2 at the Vallelunga racetrack, the Swede won the title at the end of a race full of twists and turns with the championship decided in the last minutes. Hellberg scored a double triumph in Rome, beating Matteo Roccadelli (BHK Motorsport) by just seven points.
“It's really incredible. On the eve of the weekend I didn't expect to win the title, because I knew I needed two victories and a few missteps from Uboldi and Roccadelli; However, I managed to win both races and become the new Italian Sports Prototype Champion, and I'm really happy about it. On the last lap I felt I had something more than Yoong, so I told myself to just go for it. In the end it went well, we both pushed to the limit but without disrespecting each other on the track. I have to thank the whole team for the work done throughout the season, and I can't wait to celebrate with them, and then I'll return to Sweden to spend the evening with my family and tell my boys everything" said the Swede on the podium.
When the traffic lights went out for race 2, poleman Arduino Giretti did not have a happy start, with Roccadelli immediately managing to take the lead. The Vercelli native was then put under attack by Jesse Menczer, with the Brit trying to take the lead but unable to to overtake his rival. Emil Hellberg had an excellent start as he managed to climb up to third from eighth on the grid, with Alister Yoong and his brother Linus behind him. At the back, Davide Uboldi attacked Giretti at Campagnano for sixth. The two came into contact, with the rookie ending up in a spin, ending his race prematurely. The accident caused the safety car to come onto the track at the end of the first lap, with Uboldi managing to continue the race but suffering damage to his rear wing.
During the restart phase, the multiple Italian champion saw his chances of taking home the title disappear due to a rear-end collision caused by Donald Milokanovic, who hit Uboldi, thus putting him out of action; the contact also involved Pietro Ferri (Emotion Motorsport), who was forced to retire. After a further intervention by the safety car, the race restarted on the seventh lap: race leader Roccadelli, however, suffered a technical problem, which slowed him down during the restart and forced him to lose ground. The lead was inherited by Menczer, who was however overtaken by Emil Hellberg in turn 4; the Brit then took the lead again at Campagnano, before slipping to fourth place at Soratte due to a lock-up. Yoong therefore took advantage of this and thus took the lead of the race ahead of his brothers Emil and Linus Hellberg.
The following lap saw Roccadelli retire due to an engine problem, with the safety car being called into action for the third time to allow the marshals to recover the Vercelli native's car. The race restarted on the last lap: Emil attacked Yoong for first position, managing to take the lead at the end of a good fight that started in turn 2 and ended only at Campagnano. Behind them, Linus tried to threaten Menczer for the last position on the podium, but collided with the Briton at Soratte and allowed Giovanni Mazza (Emotion Motorsport) to move up to third. Emil Hellberg therefore won the race, thus becoming the new Italian Sports Prototype Champion, while Yoong had to settle for second place after savoring victory in the last minutes.
Final third position went to Mazza: the winner of the ACI Sport Master Cup who managed to get on the overall podium for the first time in the season for the final race of 2023. Fourth place finish for Menczer, while Linus Hellberg finished fifth. Sixth place for Roccadelli, who saw the title slip from his hands in the last race.
Emil Hellberg had already achieved success in race 1 in Vallelunga: the Swede transformed the pole position achieved on Friday into a victory that was both deserved and necessary to launch the decisive attack on Matteo Roccadelli (BHK Motorsport) in the general classification. The twists began even before the start, with Pietro Ferri (Emotion Motorsport) who was forced to start from the pit lane for not having left the pit lane in time during the deployment phase, thus nullifying the fourth place achieved in qualifying . At the start, Emil Hellberg managed to get off to a good start, defending himself from Davide Uboldi's attacks and maintaining the lead of the race; less fortunate than his brother Linus, who ended up spinning in turn 4 during the first lap due to a contact with Jesse Menczer. Roccadelli also made an excellent start, as he managed to climb up to fourth place from seventh position, chasing his rivals in the championship.
Emil remained at the top of the standings in the early stages of the race despite the high pressure put on his shoulders by Uboldi, while at the back Ferri and Linus Hellberg made up ground, moving close to the top-5. Uboldi tried to increase the pace in an attempt to take the lead: at the end of the seventh lap, the multiple Italian champion pinched the gravel exiting the Roma curve, and exiting Cimini 1 on the following lap he lost the rear of his Wolf GB08 Thunder due to a broken hub carrier which forced him to retire. During the same lap, Roccadelli led the attack on Alister Yoong, overtaking him for second place; however, the Malaysian did not lose ground, managing to regain his position during the eleventh round. Roccadelli tried to limit the damage towards the end of the race, however he also lost the last place on the podium to Jesse Menczer, who thus moved up to third.
In the final laps Yoong tried to attack Emil Hellberg for the victory, but the Swede defended himself well and managed to achieve his third success of the season in the sprint. The Malaysian instead had to settle for second place, a result which confirms the growth of the son of ex-Formula 1 driver Alex in the second part of the season. Third was Jesse Menczer, who returned to the podium after a difficult weekend at the Mugello International Circuit; Matteo Roccadelli finished fourth. Fifth place for Pietro Ferri, who did well to recover after starting from the pit lane, while Linus Hellberg finished in sixth place. Seventh was the winner of the ACI Sport Rookie Cup Donald Milokanovic, while the debutant Arduino Giretti and the champion of the ACI Sport Master Cup Giovanni Mazza (Emotion Motorsport) finished the race in eighth and ninth position respectively. After the celebrations on the podium, the second Belotti Trophy was also awarded, a prize named after the former driver of the Italian Sports Prototype Championship, Guglielmo Belotti, and awarded to the person who demonstrated the greatest fair play during the season. The trophy was won by Linus Hellberg.