Two races, two wins: the European customer teams headed into the new International GT Open season with great success. The big winners of the race weekend were Porsche works driver Marco Holzer (Germany) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) driving for Manthey Racing. In the Autodromo do Algarve, the German-British duo won the 70 kilometer race on Saturday as well as the 20 kilometer shorter sprint on Sunday in the 911 GT3 RSR, the top model of Porsche customer racing. A triple victory to Porsche at Sunday’s race crowned the season-opening weekend. 35 vehicles from eleven different marquees were at the start.
The French IMSA Matmut Performance team were delighted with their second place on Sunday. At the wheel of the 911 GT3 RSR, factory pilot Patrick Pilet and team boss Raymond Narac (both France) shared driving duties. Position three went to the Italian outfit Autorlando Sport, who contests the series with the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. At the same time, this handed the Italians victory in the GTS class which is based on the FIA GT3 regulations. The 911 GT3 RSR competes in the Super GT class which is for more powerful vehicles and is based on the FIA GT2 regulations.
“It’s just fantastic to kick off the new season with maximum points,” says a thrilled Marco Holzer. Particularly on Saturday, the 22-year-old and his 28-year-old teammate Tandy, both GT Open rookies, gave a brilliant performance. Shortly before the start a rain shower flooded the race track. Holzer drove the first stint. “It was very difficult not to make a mistake on the extremely wet then drying track. When Nick took over the cockpit it wasn’t really ideal for slicks. But he drove his stint perfectly.” In Sunday’s race, the experience of team principal Olaf Manthey made itself apparent once again. Although the track was still wet, he sent Tandy out into the race on slicks. Whilst some of the opponents were still running wet tires and lost time due to the extra pit stop, the German-911 kept racing. “That was the key to success,” said Nick Tandy, the reigning champion of the Carrera Cup Deutschland, proudly.
With satisfaction, the French IMSA Matmut Performance squad also travels back to their team base in Rouen. Fourth at the first race and position two in the second – a good start to the season. “It didn’t go perfectly for us in race one,” summed up Patrick Pilet. “Our set-up wasn’t the best and we were happy with fourth. Today went better for us. At the start our 911 proved difficult to drive. We didn’t have enough tyre pressure for the track conditions. But it all came together towards the end of the race.”
Autorlando Sport were also completely satisfied with third in the overall classification and victory in the GTS class as well as with the excellent job of both pilots Archie Hamilton (Great Britain) and Marco Mapelli (Italy). The Italians have notched up the most experience in the International GT Open. From 2008 to 2011, the Italians clinched vice-championship honors in the GTS category. The Spanish Drivex School team secured 13th place in the first race and eleventh in the second at the season-opening weekend with the 911 GT3 RSR. The cockpit of the new 911 was shared by Drivex owner Miguel Angel de Castro (Spain) and the Portuguese gentleman driver Miguel Pais do Amaral.
On the series’ website www.gtopen.net, the International GT Open provides Live-Timing and also Live-Streaming. The respective schedules, points’ standings and further information are also available there.
Result race 1
1. Holzer/Tandy (D/GB), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 1:10.59.359 hours
2. Broniszewski/Peter (PL/A), Ferrari 458 GT Italia, + 7.6 seconds
3. Bizzarri/Cadei (I/I), Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, + 25.343
4. Narac/Pilet (F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 25.977
Result race 2
1. Holzer/Tandy (D/GB), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 51.43.964 minutes
2. Narac/Pilet (F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 13.179 seconds
3. Mapelli/Hamilton (I/GB), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 22.763
4. Bizzarri/Cadei (I/I), Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, + 29.974
1. Holzer/Tandy, 40 points
2. Bizzarri/Cadei, 32
3. Narac/Pilet, 30
4. Hamilton/Mapelli, 29
Race three and four of the International GT Open will be run on 25 to 27 May on the Nürburgring.