The fight for the International GT Open title in all classes will go to the wire and be decided in tomorrow’s final race of the season at Barcelona. Race 1 today was rich in incidents and surprises and yielded an unexpected outcome: the Eastalent Racing Audi of Simon Reicher and Christopher Haase took a long-awaited and well-deserved maiden win. The timing couldn’t be better, as the Austrian outfit is now the new leader in the standings, slightly changed also after the decision on the appeal following Race 2 at the Red Bull Ring, which was notified yesterday.
Riccardo Agostini-Nicola Marinangeli (AF Corse Ferrari) were second today ahead of Pierre Louis Chovet-Maximilian Paul (Oregon Team Lambo), who are also back in the fight for the title, thanks also to a ‘zero point’ day for both the Optimum Motorsport of Sam De Haan-Charlie Fagg, caught in the first corner accident, and the Motopark Mercedes of Diego Menchaca (here paired to Albert Costa) which could not do better than 13th.
The top four will go into the final battle tomorrow covered by 9 points.
Maiden win in Pro-Am for the Bonaldi Motorsport Lamborghini of Sanporn Jao Javil-Milos Pavlović while another Huracan on in Am, with an impressive Giuseppe Cipriani (Barone Rampante) finishing sixth overall.
THE RACE – At the start, poleman Schiller gets sandwiched by Mettler and Fagg, but at first corner, the McLaren is hit by Basz from the back and it’s chaos, with Schiller, Fagg and Mettler spinning and getting stranded at first corner. The safety car is out, while Mettler and Schiller manage to bring back their cars to the pits.
The race restarts in lap 4, with Basz in the lead ahead of Chovet, Fumanelli, Reicher, L.Proctor, Marinangeli, Perolini, Schirò, Blom and Pulcini. There is more drama shortly after (lap 5) when Costa, 12th, touches Montermini ahead of him, who spins and collects Pitamber.
Basz has to serve a drive-through for the incident at the start, which leaves Chovet leading by one second on Fumanelli and 5 on Proctor, followed by Reicher, Marinangeli, Costa, Schirò, Perolini and Blom. In lap 13, though, Pulcini closes on Stanley and they get in contact collecting Perolini, with the two Italians finishing in the sand. The safety car is out again. In the meantime, Basz gets a 5-second penalty for track limits.
At the restart, Costa takes third right before the opening of the driver change window. While Chovet stops, the fight continues on track, with Costa stealing the lead from Fumanelli and Basz fighting with Proctor and Schirò, while Stanley collides with Proctor, sending him into a spin. Rumpfkeil is first in Am. Both Costa and Stanley get a drive-through.
After all stops (lap 32), Haase leads with 4 seconds on Agostini, then much further Paul, Pavlovic who has passed Rosi for first in Pro-Am, Cipriani (first in Am), Jans, Jousset, Bartone and Neumann. Rosi spins into the gravel and the safety car is out for third time.
Nothing special will happen in the two final race laps, with Haase winning ahead of Agostini and Paul, Pavlovic taking Pro-Am honours and an excellent fourth, followed by Jans, Bartone and the top 3 in Am, Cipriani, Grunewald and Jefferies, all in the top-8 overall.