Spa, here we come (with many new entries!)Porsche-Ferrari duel in both SuperGT and GTS to continue in BelgiumCorvette is back: Ramos-Giammaria lead V8 Racing entryExpectation for the Swiss Team’s Maserati GT MC3Russian Bears to debut with two FerrarisLe Mans-winner AF Corse adds two Ferraris 458 GT3RaiSport starts broadcasting the GT Open live in Italy
The third round of the International GT Open 2012 is taking teams and drivers to one of their most-appreciated venues: Spa-Francorchamps. Needless to say, the historic and magnificent track in the Belgian Ardennes is one of the preferred by everybody, and not last, by fans and TV viewers!
Spa will be an important moment this year, as it could provide some very interesting indications regarding this year’s trends. After a first round dominated by the Manthey Racing’s Porsche 911 RSR and a second round that saw the Ferraris 458 bouncing back with a double win (thanks to the AF Corse and Villorba teams), it will be interesting to see what happens on the hilly and fast Walloon circuit…
The championship situation is completely open, with Marco Holzer-Nick Tandy (Manthey Porsche) leading the overall standings, by 2 points only (54 vs 52) over Patrick Pilet-Raymond Narac, at the wheel of the 911 of French team IMSA Performance, who was an unlucky runner-up in the GTE Am class at last weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Third is the new and surprising Aston Martin Vantage SuperGT of Matteo Malucelli-Álvaro Barba run by Villois Racing (46 points). The Italian team, by the way, also collected laurels at Le Mans, as it won the Aston Martin Festival preceding the 24 Hours, with Luca Filippi-Brian Lavio (the latter, incidentally, was better known until now as the responsible for GT Open’s new media activities…), who beat another GT Open duo, Deboeuf Raceteam’s Gruber-Seefried.
The situation is quite similar in the GTS category, where Stefano Bizzarri (AF Corse Ferrari) leads with 24 points leads ahead the Autorlando Sport Porsche 911 R of Marco Mapelli-Archie Hamilton (21) and the Seyffarth Mercedes SLS of Jan Seyffarth-Kenneth Heyer (20), who took a double win at the Nürbugring. As always, the Spa event is attracting a high number of entries, with 31 cars expected and some interesting novelties on the blocks.
In the SuperGT category, Chevrolet will be the fifth manufacturer represented: the iconic ‘Vettes are back with two C6R of the well-known Dutch team V8 Racing directed by Patrick Sellesnagh. Miguel Ramos and Raffaele Giammaria have switched their Ferrari 458 to drive one of the Corvettes, the other being entrusted to 2011 vice-champion Emanuele Moncini and Netherlands’ Diederik Sijthoff.
In GTS, Spa should mark the much-awaited debut of Swiss Team-elaborated Maserati Granturismo MC3, which is still testing this week in the hands of Gabriele Gardel and Alessandro Pier Guidi. There are more significant additions, as AF Corse, fresh from their exciting GTE Pro win at Le Mans, will enter two more Ferraris 458 GT3 for current FIA GT3 runner-ups Gaetano Ardagna-Giuseppe Cirò and Yannick Mallegol-Howard Blank. Last but not least, Russian Bears Motorsport, also well-known in the GT3 scene, is making its debut in the GT Open with two Baporo-prepared Ferraris 458 GT3 for Boris Rotenberg-Maurizio Mediani and Miguel Toril-Kirill Ladygin. To be noted, finally, that the Reiter Lamborghini seen at theAlgarve is back with Dutchmen Peter Kox-Nico Pronk.
This round will mark also the start of a new key TV coverage agreement in a key market as Italy: from now on, the International GT Open will be broadcast live or slightly deferred by Raisportdue, on the sports platform of national broadcaster RAI. This adds to other recent major TV deals, such as Sport1+ in Germany, further enhancing the TV offer of the series, which enjoys of pan-European live coverage thanks to Motors TV.
As usual, the European F3 Open and the FIA Formula 2 partner with the GT Open for the Nürburgring round, together with other series included in the Spa Euro Race programme, such as the F.Renault 2.0 Alps and the Dutch Supercar Challenge.
GT Open Spa Timetable / Horario GT Open Spa(All times local, CET / Hora local, CET)
Friday 22 June 2012 / Viernes 22 Junio 201210:20-11:10 Free Practice 1 / Libres 114:45-15:35 Free Practice 2 / Libres 2
Saturday 23 June 2012 / Sábado 23 Junio 201209:00-09:15 Qualifying / Clasficación1 GTS09:15-09:20 Qualifying / Clasficación1 SGT + GTS09:20-09:35 Qualifying / Clasficación1 SGT11:25-11:40 Qualifying / Clasficación 2 GTS11:40-11:45 Qualifying / Clasficación 2 SGT + GTS11:45-12:00 Qualifying / Clasficación 2 SGT15:00-16:10 Race 1 / Carrera 1 (70’ - Rolling Start / Salida lanzada)
Sunday 24 Junio 2012 / Domingo 24 Junio 201213:00-13:50 Race 2 / Carrera 2 (50’ – Rolling start / Salida lanzada)