Rain and tire changes influence season-openerThe Porsche successful despite a drive-through over Peter-Broniszewski (Kessel Ferrari)Rizzoli-Cadei (AF Corse Ferrari) win in GTS and take third overall
Manthey Racing and Porsche made a stunning return to the International GT Open,as Marco Holzer and Nick Tandy won, at the wheel of the new 911 RSR, the openinground of the 2012 season in the Algarve, a race made hectic by a change of tires,from rain to slicks, in the middle of it. Philipp Peter and Michal Broniszewski(Kessel Ferrari) were an excellent second, while the AF Corse Ferrari 458 GT3 ofStefano Bizzarri-Niki Cadei took the last spot on the overall podium on top ofvictory in the GTS category, where they preceded the Porsche Autorlando of MarcoMapelli-Archie Hamilton and the Kessel Ferrari of Daniel Zampieri-Michael DalleStelle.
Following a strong shower before the start, it’s wet track and rain tires foreverybody, and start behind the safety-car. When the race takes off, polemanVilander keeps the advantage and tries to fly away, while Peter and Giammaria puton a wonderful fight for second, with the Italian taking the advantage. Holzer isfourth and closes on the two Ferraris as soon as the sunshine comes out. Lopez,Barba and De Castro are in the top 7 in initial phases, but lose ground and getpassed by the Audi of Campaniço and the Ferrari GT3 of Zampieri, who leads theGTS category ahead of Bizzarri. First to retire is the Lambo of Pronk, after hittingthe wall.
With the track completely dry, start the pit stops for the change of tires, inparallel with the stops for driver change. As known, the rules do not allow to dothe two in one stop, something that two cars, the Porsche Manthey and the LamboGoodsense of Teixeira-Pereira omit to do, receiving a drive-through.The Porsche-Manthey, which had returned to the track with Tandy at the wheeland a comfortable (42”) gap on Broniszewzski, would keep the lead until the enddespite the drive through, crossing the line with a 7-second advantage. “Given theproblems we had with tire consumption, we were lucky to have the rain at thebeginning”, said Marco Holzer after the end.
Third position overall will be for GTS winners, Bizzarri-Cadei (AF Corse) took third,ahead of the IMSA Porsche of Pilet, Ramos, the Goodsense Lambo of Pereira andthe Villois Aston of Malucelli. It was an unlucky second half of the race for some ofthe top Ferraris, as AF’s car of Leo, then third, stopped along the track with amechanical problem and the Villorba car of Montermini got a broken wheel as aconsequence of being it by the spinning Ford of Lapa when lapping it.
GT Open Standings after Round 1Overall: 1.Holzer-Tandy, 22 points; 2. Peter-Broniszewski, Cadei-Bizzarri, 18; 4. Pilet-Narac, 12; 5.Hamilton-Mapelli, 11
GTS: 1. Cadei-Bizzarri, 10; 2. Hamilton-Mapelli, 8; 3. Zampieri-Dalle Stelle, 6; 4. Bontempelli-Cordoni,4; 5. Mantovani-Cecchellero, 3
Teams Overall: 1. Manthey Racing, 10; 2. Kessel Racing, 8; 3. IMSA Performance, 6; 4. Black Team,4; 5. Villois Racing, 3Teams GTS: 1. AF Corse, 10; Kessel Racing, 9; 3. Autorlando Sport, 8; 4. Ombra Racing, 4.