Montermini-Maceratesi Clinch GT Open

The Italian pair of Playteam win second race and title in soaked track, despite a severe crash in the warm-upLietz-Roda, only 6th in the Autorlando Porsche, could not keep leadershipThree Lamborghinis in the podium of the GTS race

Andrea Montermini and Michele Maceratesi are the 2008 International GT OpenChampions after an emotion-packed final race in the Circuit de Catalunya. The Italianpair, in their Playteam SaraFree Ferrari F430, turned completely over a very difficultsituation and could clinch the title in front of their rivals Lietz-Roda (AutorlandoPorsche), despite Montermini crashing the car in the warm-up.

The car could be repaired in time thanks to a great effort of the team mechanics, andthe Italian pair drove another brilliant race, on a treacherous track soaked by the rain,that they eventually won (despite the 15” handicap), well helped by their team-matesGião-Couceiro, who finished second ahead of the Trottet Ferrari of Moser-Fässler.“We are extremely happy to win the title, after such a difficult week-end” said thetwo Italians, “and we really owe a lot to the tem. It has been a long and excitingseason, we were on top of the standings for almost all of it, but we have been closeto lose it”.

The heavy rain contributed to the result as the Ferraris seemed much more at ease onthe wet track than the Porsche of Lietz-Roda, today only sixth. Orlando Redolfi, theteam owner of Autorlando Sport, reckoned: “In such conditions, our car was verydifficult to drive. I can only congratulate Playteam, they have been stronger”.The GTS race was also influenced by the rain, which provoked the accident of theleading Ferrari of Renard-Vosse, leaving three Lamborghini Gallardos in the podium,with the two Mik Corse of Piccini-Geri and Bontempelli-Caccia ahead of Ruffier’sHélary-Cabannes.

THE GTA RACE - Poleman Damien Pasini took the lead ahead of Maceratesi, Gião,Lietz, Rugolo, De Castro, Monfardini, Gianmaria and Ortelli but on lap 3 the rainintensified and he was surprised at the end of the straight, hitting hard the tyre wall.Also Cruz, Fernandez and Monfardini went off in that lap.

The first part of the race saw Lietz trying to attack Gião for third, but with no success,and a superb performance of Marc Carol in the V-Line Ferrari, who reaches secondposition just before the pit stop. After the driver changes, it is Couceiro leading aheadof Mayola and Montermini, while Fässler is charging from behind and Roda is trying tokeep a sixth position, which at that moment still meant winning the title.

In the final laps, Montermini took second from Mayola, while Fässler, just behind him,was evidently not attacking him, and in the last corners, Couceiro left pass his teammateto conquer a double victory and the certainty of the title. Cressoni was fourth,ahead of Mayola, Roda, Cioci, Chacón and Alméras.

THE GTS RACE – The second GTS race was as wet as the GTA race. With the secondplace in the championship as the biggest stake, the race saw domination of the SportGarage-prepared Ferraris, with poleman Vincent Vosse taking the lead ahead of teammateVannelet, who will later spin in lap 6 after trying to attack the sister car.Peyrolles was third in the first part of the race ahead of Julià, Caccia and Raimondi.After the pit stop, Renard kept the leadership but when rain doubled, he could notavoid a spin and a big shunt, which forced the safety-car to get in. In this conditions,it was a double victory for the Lambos of Mik Corse, with Piccini and Bontempelli, withanother Lambo third, the Ruffier one of Hélary. Pampló ended fourth and Ceccatofifth. Although finishing outside the points, Max Wiser, in the Villois Aston

FINAL GT OPEN STANDINGS:1. Montermini-Maceratesi (Playteam Ferrari), 177 p.2. Lietz – Roda (Autorlando Porsche), 1693. Gião-Couceiro (Playteam Ferrari), 1614. Moser (Trottet Ferrari), 1175. Monfardini – Frezza (EdilCris Ferrari), 1106. Pasini-Bonetti (AE Ferrari), 100

GTA Champion: Montermini-Maceratesi (Playteam Ferrari)GTS Champion: Cioci-Pellizzato (Twentwy-two Corvette)Teams: Scuderia Playteam SaraFree

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