• Italian squad wins GTS Pro-Am race in its return• Ho-Pin Tung, first Chinese driver to win a major GT race• The Kessels, father and son, second for Ferrari• Points leaders Pellizzato-Cioci complete a 3-makes podium
The return of Scuderia La Torre to the International GT Open could not be moresuccessful: the Italian and reigning GTS squad, clinched the historical and symbolic winin the first-ever race held in the Valencia Street Circuit. Briton Mike Conway andChina’s Ho-Pin Tung, two of the five GP2 drivers that Riccardo Romagnoli enrolled forthis event, won the race, after the three Dodge Vipers had dominated the qualifying.This is also the first victory of a Chinese driver in a major international GT race.Second in the race were Loris and Ronnie Kessel in one of their Ferraris F430. TheSwiss, a former F.1 driver and now a reputed tuner of Ferrari cars, made his debut inthe GT Open along his son, who was extremely good at bringing safely home a cardamaged in the rear since the start. The Twentytwo Motorsport Corvette of Pellizzato-Ciocifinished third, consolidating their leadership in the GTS standings and completinga superb podium, with three different makes.
At the start (without the Mik Corse Lambo of Corradi-Livio, destroyed in freepractice), it is poleman Ho-Pin Tung taking the lead ahead team-mate Maldonado,with Guerrero in the Porsche Drivex breaking the La torre Vipers trio. They arefollowed by Pantano, Edwards, Kessel (who has some damage in the rear left),Armetta, Pellizzato and Petrov, while the two Ruffier cars are starting from thepitlane as they miss the grid procedure. In lap 2, a contact between Manuzzi and DeWit sends the Marcos into a spin and retirement, while in lap 3 Pantano passesGuerrero for third (the Spanish would later have to retire with an exploded tyre).It is total domination for the three La Torre Vipers, also after the driver change, withConway leading from Romagnoli and D’Ambrosio, soon passed by Kessel (despite thedamage in the rear of his F430), while an inspired Julià (faster than in qualifying) isnow 4 th . Also in freat shape is former Le Mans winner Eric Hélary, with the RuffierLambo, who charges up to 8 th position before hitting the wall in lap 19 because of abroken brake pedal.
The final laps are thrilling for the La Torre, as both D’Ambrosio (lap 18) and Romagnoli(lap 23) retire with transmission problems, but there are no worries at all for Conway,who wins easily from a consistent Kessel and the Corvette of Pellizzato, who benefitsfrom the electronic problems of Julià to take third. The Roger Ferrari of Petrov-Villa,which had been as high as 5 th at some point of the race, is excluded by the stewardsafter the race because it had been refueled in the grid.
Handicaps Pro-Am Race GTS:40”: Car # 6535”: Car # 5820”: Cars # 51, 52, 57, 61, 66, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 77, 79