It came fast but it is here: the half-season mark, right before the summer break, takes place this weekend for the International GT Open, and the fourth of the seven rounds will almost be a celebration, as the series returns to a wonderful location, Imola. It has been ten years since the GT Open last raced in the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, which was visited three times in 2009-11.
Since then, a lot has happened on the 4.9-km track along the Santerno river, which has undergone a major revision in 2007 and has recovered F.1 status last year, with the Emilia Romagna GP, but the essence of this very challenging, technical and fast track hasn’t changed, nor the fascination that mythical corners and spots such as Tamburello, Rivazza, Tosa or Acque Minerali exert on any race fan.
The International GT Open and the Euroformula Open will be hosted in an event promoted by the ACI Sport, and the show promises to be great.
The fight for the Overall title is expected to get even warmer, as championship leaders, Frederick Schandorff and Michele Beretta, with the Lamborghini of Vincenzo Sospiri Racing, whose home is in Forlì, not far from Imola, are strong of 3 race wins but have only a 6-point advantage on Andy Soucek and the Lechner Racing Porsche. The Spaniard will again be associated with Oman’s Al Faisal Al Zubair, who had to miss the last round in Budapest because of illness.
The other VSR Lamborghini of Yuki Nemoto-Baptiste Moulin is third in the standings and seeking for its first success of the season. They are tied on points (49) with the Inception Racing McLaren of Brendan Iribe-Ollie Millroy, who command in the Pro-Am class, thanks to their 2 wins and 48 points. Their closes rivals are the Nordic pair composes of Jens Reno Møller and Marcus Påverud, with the Reno Racing Honda NSX, who will aim at adding a first success to their string of podium finishes.
Loris Spinelli is now third in the Pro-Am standings, thanks to his overall race 2 win at Budapest, together with Gianluca Giraudi in the AKM Motorsport (another team from the Emilia region), tied in points with the JP Motorsport McLaren of Krupinski-Klien.
The excellent news in Pro-Am is that the second Iception Racing McLaren is back, now that Nick Moss is recovered from the back injury suffered at Spa and ready to climb back in the standings together with Joe Osborne.
In the Am class, will be back the Mercedes duel between Giuseppe Cipriani (Il Barone Rampante) and Jens Liebhauser-Florian Scholze (AKM Motorsport), who missed the last round and will aim at making up 16-point gap in the standings with regard to the Italian. Each have claimed three race wins so far.
A top new entry will make its GT Open debut in Imola: Audi Sport Italia, who is a double Drivers’ and Teams’ champion in the Italian GT, enters an Audi R8 LMS for reigning Italian GT Sprint champion Riccardo Agostini (already successful in the GT Open) and young star Lorenzo Ferrari. The team is led by Ferdinando Geri, who was a regular GT Open contender years ago and has known the races ….in Imola.