Valencia GT Open

Montermini-Maceratesi Puts Playteam Back On Top

• The Italian pair consolidates leadership in the series, team-mates Gião-Couceiro (3rd) also on the podium• Rugolo-Tavano take second for Advanced Engineering• Ceccato-Visconti win again in GTS after sanction hits the Corvette

After the difficult day lived yesterday, Scuderia Playteam SaraFree completely runed the situation in today’s GT Open race, placing its two cars in first and third: Andrea Montermini-Michele Maceratesi had a trouble-free race to clinch their second victory of the year, and increase their advantage in the overall standings, while Gião-Couceiro still made it to the podium despice two contacts and a drive-through. The blue Ferraris sandwiched the Advanced Engineering F430 of Michele Rugolo-Salvatore Tavano, very competitive throughout the week-end.

The sunshine and a big crowd (46,000 over the week-end) were there today, and the race offered many close fighting and some incidents, in both categories. In GTS, the Twentytwo Corvette of Cioci-Pellizzato crossed the line first, but a 20” penalty after the race gave the victory to championship leaders Ceccato-Visconti (Racing Box Lambo), while young Spaniards Miquel Julià and José Luis Pampló (whose “cumulative” age is a thin 41 years) clinched their first podium in the Roger Racing Ferrari.

The race begins with reigning champion and first row-qualified Richard Lietz forced to start from the pits (the team was simply too late in starting the engine). The way is clear for poleman Maceratesi who leads ahead of Aguas, Gião, Gutiérrez, Pompidou and Frezza, while Pasini is pushed out of the race by Pompidou a few corners away and Romanini spins. The Portuguese duel between Aguas and Gião is intense and the latter sends the former into a spin while attempting an over-taking (this will cost the Playteam Ferrari a drive-through). All this is to the advantage of the MC Mosler of Gutiérrez who takes second place and defends it effectively, although taking some liberties with the white line (which will result in a drive-throiugh). Gião is third at that moment, in front of Pompidou, Belicchi, Frezza, Tavano, Griffin and Caffi. In the meantime, Lietz climbs positions and he is 9th and in the points by lap 12.

After the pit-stop, Montermini has a comfortable lead of 19” on Rugolo, followed by Alexander and Couceiro in close fighting (the Portuguese passing the Swiss in lap 23, although there is a contact and the Playteam loses part of his rear bumper. Sundberg is fifth, peceding Aicart, Merino, Monfardini and De Castro.In GTS, the Corvette leads in the initial laps ahead of Livio and Ceccato, but is Corradi (on the Mik Lambo) ahead of the pack after the pit-stop. Still, the Corvette retakes the lead despite the 30” handicap it had to serve, while Corradi willa have to retire leaving second to Ceccato and third to Julià, very fast at the end.After the race, the Stewards sanctioned the Corvette with 20” for not having served the entire handicap time. That brought it down one spot and gave the victory in GTS to Ceccato-Visconti. Also sanctioned with 20’’ was the AE Ferrari of Griffin-Bamford, for pitting outside the allowed window, while Manuel Gião is sanctioned with a 10-place drop on the grid at the next race, in Spa-Francorchamps (31 May/1st June).-GT Open race handicaps

#1 Lietz-Roda (Porsche Autorlando): 15’’#3 Montermini-Maceratesi (Playteam Ferrari): 10’’#10 Pasini-Bonetti (AE Ferrari): 5’’#20 Cressoni-Bontempelli (Edil Cris Ferrari): 5’’#21 Frezza-Monfardini (Edil Cris Ferrari): 15’’#53 Geri-Armetta (Lambo Racing Box): 15’’#54 Ceccato-Visconti (Lambo Racing Box): 20”#57 Wiser-Calella (Villois Aston): 15’’GT Open standings after 4 rounds:

Overall: 1. Montermini, Maceratesi, 62 points; 3. Giao, Couceiro, 42; 5. Pasini, Bonetti, 38; 7. Monfardini, Frezza, Ceccato, Visconti, 35; 11. Lietz, Roda, 30; 13. Rugolo, Tavano, 28; 15. Casé, Cressoni, Bontempelli, 20; 18. Pompidou, Alexander, Geri, Armetta, 19, etc.GTS: 1. Visconti, Ceccato, 30 points; 3. Cioci, Pellizzato, 24; 5. Wiser, 19; 6. Geri, Armetta, 18; 8. Ricci, 16; 9. Romanini, Petrini, 10, etc.Teams: 1. Scuderia Playteam, 30 points; 2. Advanced Engineering, 32; Edil Cris Racing Team, 20; 4. Autorlando Sport, 20; 5. Trottet Racing, 7; 6. Racing Box, RSV Motorsport, 3.