to 2008 Season in Barcelona - Last event attracts 48 EntriesPorsche/Autorlando vs. Ferrari/Playteam for overall crownDavison, Ortelli, Vosse and Hélary among new-coming GT stars
Before the curtain falls on the 2008 season, the International GT Open will deliver an exciting final battle for the overall title. The Catalunya GT Open, the eighth and last event of the series, will not fail to the tradition of being both the title-decider and one of the best-attended GT races in Europe. The entry list published today by GT Sport sees no less than 48 cars expected in Montmelò, and includes some additional great GT racers, such as Stéphane Ortelli, Vincent Vosse, Eric Hélary and Alex Davison.
With the Team title already secured by Scuderia Playteam SaraFree and Marco Cioci and Andrea Pellizzato already proclaimed as GTS Champions, two titles still have to find their owner: the GTA one and, last nut not least, the overall title. As explained in the first preview, three teams are in contention for the top honors and ready to fight until the very last moment. On one hand, Richard Lietz and Gianluca Roda will try to give Autorlando Sport and Porsche a second consecutive title, and approach the week-end with a 12-point lead (155 points). Scuderia Playteam SaraFree, on the other hand, will have its two Ferrari fighting for the crown: Manuel Gião-Pedro Couceiro are currently lying second in the standings (143 points) and Andrea Montermini-Michele Maceratesi third (133 points). With 44 points still to be awarded (the event is being held to the usual 2-race format, with GTA and GTS racing separate races on Sunday), the game is still very open. The same three teams, in the same order (but with a different point scale: 64-58-57, respectively) are fighting for the GTA title.
While the fight for the title will logically draw much of the attention, this is not the only element of interest of the Catalunya GT Open. As usual, this last race of the International GT Open is attracting a high entry, with a number of teams and drivers from different countries in Europe joining GT Open regulars for the last big GT event in Europe before winter, although “last” is not the right word this year, as one week later, on 8-9 November, another international race, valid for the Spanish GT Championship, will inaugurate the new track in Portimão, in the Portuguese Algarve.
Among these special entrants, there are a number of teams well-acquainted with the GT Open. In the GTA category, Spain’s Motor Competición, with its impressive Mosler MT900R, and Josep Mayola, with his Ferrari F430, will be present, as well as the two German Porsches 997 by Konrad and Hisaq, and another 997 RSR is entered by Frenchstalwart GT squad Alméras for Philippe Alméras himself and GT superstar Stéphane Ortelli, who will be making his first appearance in the International GT Open. A Porsche 997 is also entered by Noël Del Bello.
In the GTS category, a strong French delegation is making the journey to Montmelò. Ruffier Racing enters three Lamborghini Gallardo, with Eric Hélary among its drivers, while Belgian star Vincent Vosse will make his debut on one of the Ferraris from Sport Garage. Also back the First Racing-prepared Lambo of David Tuchbant, two Sofrev-ASP Ferraris F430 GT3 and a Porsche 997 GT3 Cup by Alméras. New entrants in GTS also include the 430 GT3 from Ferrari GB Motorsport and two Porsches 997 GT3 Cup by Germany’s Attempto Racing. Finally, two welcomed reappearances: the two Marcos Mantis of Cor Euser’s team and one Dodge Viper of Scuderia Latorre for Romagnoli-Marchetti. On a lighter note, Mik Corse is entering in one of its cars Alessio Salucci, a personal friend of Moto GP legend Valentino Rossi who became very popular in Italy appearing on TV ads with “Vale”.
The most significant novelties among regular GT Open entrants concern Autorlando Sport. The Italian Porsche team, which will be bidding for the title, is replacing its second car, normally entrusted to Belicchi-Zonca, with another 997 RSR, which will carry race number #24 for young Portuguese Francisco Cruz Martins and Australian Porsche official driver Alex Davison. Autorlando is bringing back its third car as well, the Caffi-Fratti one, which had to miss the Monza event because of other commitments of its drivers. Edil Cris, on its side, is replacing one of its regular drivers (Bontempelli) with Bulgarian Palmen Kralev.
The Pro-Am and GT Open races will be broadcasted live by Eurosport 2 (59 countries), Nuvolari (Italy), Canal + (Spain) and Portugal (Sport TV), with the usual additional delayed coverage in other countries, including France (Motors TV), Belgium (Be Tv) and Austria (ÖRF).
CATALUNYA GT OPEN TIMETABLE
Friday 31 October 200811:10-12:00 Free Practice 1 (GTS)12:00-12:50 Free Practice 1 (GTA)15:00-16:50 Free Practice 2 (GTS)16:50-17:40 Free Practice 2 (GTA)
Saturday 1 November 200810:00-10:15 Qualifying 1 (GTS)10:15-10:20 Qualifying 1 (GTS + GTA)10:20-10:35 Qualifying 1 (GTA)12:45-13:05 Qualifying 2 (GTS)13:10-13:30 Qualifying 2 (GTA)16:25-17:25 Pro-Am Race (60’ – Rolling Start)
Sunday 5 October 200809:00-09:20 Warm-up12:35-13:25 GTA GT Open Race ( 50’ – Rolling Start)14:40-15:30 GTS GT Open Race (50’ – Rolling Start)