AE Ferrari Takes First Round

With Rugolo-Ricci• Porsche second (Narac-Pilet) and third (Roda-Lietz) after exciting race• Kessel Ferrari wins in GTS with Peter-Boroniszewski ahead of Villois Astons

Michele Rugolo and Giacomo Ricci took a brilliant win in the inaugural round of the 2009International GT Open, in an exciting and closely-fought race in Imola, after a faultlessperformance that allowed Ferrari and Advanced Engineering to beat the Porsche teams thathad dominated free practice, qualifying and the first part of the race.Michel Pilet and Raymond Narac finished second in the Porsche 997 RSR of IMSAPerformance, ahead of the sister car by Autorlando Sport driven by Gianluca Roda andRichard Lietz.

Ferrari also won the GTS category, thanks to the F430 Scuderia of Kessel Racing driven byPhilipp Peter and Mikal Boroniszewski, who dominated the race ahead of the two VilloisAston Martins of Wiser-Lancieri and Petrini-Guerrero.The race started under the command of the two front-row Porsches, with poleman Belloctaking the lead ahed of Roda and Couceiro, while Camathias led the Ferraris, withMontermini and Rugolo right behind. This group pulled away and remained compact untilthe pit stop, with Montermini passing Camathias as the main change, while behind therewas a contact between Del Monte and Perazzini.

The pit stop saw the first refueling ever in a GT Open standard event (as Saturday’s race hasbeen brought to 70 minutes) and was almost fatal to Lietz, who lost 35 seconds trying torestart the Porsche.

Second part of the race started with Ricci leading and pressed by Fässler, but soon the Swisshad to stop again to have part of the bottom of his Ferrari, which had been detached,removed. While Pavoni went off and David lost some positions, and Pilet climbed to third,all the attention focused on the beautiful fight in the last laps for third position, betweenGião and Gianmaria and Lietz, who had both emerged from the back. Eventually, theAustrian, with another of his incredible drives, beating several times the best lap, got thelast spot on the podium.

Race was much linear in GTS, with Philipp Peter leading from the start in the Kessel Ferrarithat Mikal Boroniszewski safely brought home to become the first Polish driver to win in theGT Open. He unfortunately missed the podium as the car stalled with a blocked gearbox inthe decelaration lap. It was also a strong performance from the Aston Martins of VilloisRacing which took the other two positions in the podium with Max Wiser-Gabriele Lancieriand Lucas Guerrero-Marco Petrini.

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