Benja Hites and Leo Pulcini are the 2022 Champions of the International GT Open after a thrilling final race in Barcelona, which saw the two title contenders fighting in the group right behind the front-runners. Eventually, a fifth place, right behind their last rivals, Nick Moss-Joe Osborne, in the Optimum Motorsport McLaren, was enough for the Chilean-Italian pair to sec0ure the title, by only 3 net points. “It has been a stressful finale, but we made it. We want to thank Oregon Team and Lamborghini for the tremendous work and support”, said together the new champions.
It was a perfect day for Oregon Team (already crowned as the Team champion) as Kevin Gilardoni-Glenn Van Berlo took the race win, their third of the year, securing a final P3 in the standings. Second in the race were Steve Jens-Sébastien Baud (GetSpeed Mercedes), with the Dinamic Motorsport of Riccardo Cazzaniga and Klaus Bachler in third.
In Pro-Am, the debuting Herberth Motorsport Porsche of Ralf Bohn-Robert Renaur won the race, while a fifth was enough for Marcin Jedlinski and Karel Basz to take a well-deserved title, with the Audi of Olimp Racing.
In Am, Alex Hrachowina and Martin Konrad finished their campaign in a triumphant mode, clinching an eighth success.
THE RACE – Bachler and Basz take a perfect start from row 1, with Van Berlo in third preceding Renauer, Valente, Fumanelli and Jens. Hites is 11th at the end of first lap and Moss 18th after cutting the first chicane. The Chilean qualified 9th and the Brit 16th after losing almost half of the session because of an electronic problem stopped his car along the track. He would also get a 5-position penalty on the grid as the mechanics intervened on-site.
There are few changes in the initial laps, as Bachler leads ahead of Basz, Van Berlo, Renauer, Valente, Fumanelli, Jens and Hofer, all covered by only 6 seconds. Hites is 12th and Moss 17th. In lap 5, the safety car is out as Villanueva spins in turn 10 and gets stuck in the gravel.
The restart, after 2 laps, brings no news up to the driver change window opens in lap 14. Drama strikes there as both title contenders, Hites and Moss, go to the pits at the same time and the McLaren manages to short cut the Lambo (it had 10 seconds less of handicap) thanks also to the accidental presence of one of the Kessel Ferraris. Osborne is in front of Pulcini as they rejoin the track, fighting closely until traffic allows the Brit to pull away.
In lap 22, Gilardoni leads ahead of Bohn, Baud, Cazzaniga, with Osborne in fifth ahead of Scholze, Juffali and Pulcini, who is narrowly champion as it stands. In the final laps, Osborne closes on Cazzaniga, finishing fourth right ahead of Pulcini, who takes the crown. Bohn drops to 7th but retains the Pro-Am win ahead of Scholze and Juffali, while Hrachowina repeats victory in Am ahead of Cipriani and Nana.