Podium for Manthey-Racing, class win for Autorlando SportStuttgart. With two extremely gripping races, the International GT Open took off into the second half of the season in southern France. On the Circuit Paul Ricard, Porsche customer teams again celebrated successes with the 911 GT3 RSR, the top model of Porsche customer racing, as well as the 911 GT3 R. Claiming fifth at race 9 on Saturday and second at race 10 on Sunday in the 911 GT3 RSR, works driver Marco Holzer (Germany) and his teammate at Manthey-Racing, Britain’s Nick Tandy, defended the lead of the strongly-supported sports car series – albeit sharing the same points with their rivals from Aston Martin. But Holzer and Tandy’s second place at Paul Ricard may turn into a win because the race director handed the winning team a 30-second time penalty. The team has lodged a protest. According to the organiser, this will be heard in several weeks.
In the GTS class, the Italian customer team Autorlando Sport celebrated a class win at Sunday’s race. And for the two hobby racers of the Spanish Equipe Drivex School, Miguel Angel de Castro (Spain) and Miguel Amaral (Portugal), positions 15 and 13 in the new 911 GT3 RSR were also good results. Only the French IMSA Performance Matmut team heads into the second half of the season with a disappointing result after being shunted into retirement on Sunday.
“That was a good weekend,” said Marco Holzer, obviously feeling very pleased after the spirited 50 minute race on Sunday. “Fifth place yesterday gave us more crucial points in our bid for the title. And the race today was simply great. We only took off from seventh and managed to charge ahead. Second after such a tough fight – now that’s something we can be thrilled about. It’s hard to match the lap times of the others, but we did our best.” To now, it has not been possible to further develop the control tyres that are used in the series so that they work properly on the rear-wheel-driven 911. “Our advantage is my two drivers Marco and Nick,” states Manthey-Racing team boss Olaf Manthey. “The boys do a fantastic job.”
As well as celebrations in the Italian team there was bitter frustration. After the double victory with the 911 GT3 R at the 70 minute race on Saturday, a rival lodged a protest against the two 911 GT3 R fielded by Autorlando Sport. The team’s modifications to the exhaust system did not conform with the regulations. Consequently, both cars were disqualified. This made the result on Sunday all the more sweeter when Matteo Beretta and Marcello Puglisi crossed the finish line as first in the GTS class. The two Italians had made their International GT Open debut just the week before in Brands Hatch – and followed up there with third. Their team colleagues, Marco Mapelli from Italy and Britain’s Archie Hamilton, only finished fifth in the GTS class in Paul Ricard on Sunday. Mapelli had taken up the race from third and fiercely defended his position against attacking rivals in the strong Super GT class. But then he had to put in an additional pit stop because of a slow puncture, plus the 30 second handicap through the double victory of Mapelli/Hamilton in Brands Hatch. The pair still holds second in the GTS drivers’ standings.
At their home race of all places, the IMSA Performance Matmut team encountered bad luck, robbing them of all their hard work. Works driver Patrick Pilet and his French compatriot Raymond Narac finished sixth on Saturday but retired from Sunday’s race after the 911 GT3 RSR piloted by Narac was shunted hard in the rear left and was sidelined early on with a damaged suspension. “We are bitterly disappointed,” said an upset Patrick Pilet. “This is the second retirement after Brands Hatch. Again no points on Sunday! But aside from our bad luck we were simply not fast enough because of the problems with our tyres.”
Result race 9
1. Malucelli/Barba (I/E), Aston Martin Vantage, 1:10.31.849 hours
2. Bruni/Leo (I/I), Ferrari 458 GT Italia, + 1.440 seconds
3. Ramos/Giammaria (P/I), Chevrolet Corvette C6R, + 12.724
4. Lopez/Montermini (ARG/I), Ferrari 458 GT Italia, + 25.881
5. Holzer/Tandy (D/GB), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 31.176
6. Narac/Pilet (F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 33.545
15. Amaral/De Castro (P/E), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 1 lap
Result race 10
1. Lopez/Montermini (ARG/I), Ferrari 458 GT Italia, 50:54.191 minutes
2. Holzer/Tandy (D/GB), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 3.105 seconds
3. Bruni/Leo (I/I), Ferrari 458 GT Italia, + 6.836
4. Peter/Broniszewski (A/PL), Ferrari 458 GT Italia, + 9.704
5. Malucelli/Barba (I/E), Aston Martin Vantage, + 10.125
8. Beretta/Puglisi (I/), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 46.183
13. Amaral/De Castro (P/E), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 1:18.365 minutes
14. Hamilton/Mapelli (GB/I), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 1:20.166
Points’ standings after 10 of 16 races
1. Holzer, Tandy, Porsche, 120 points
2. Barba, Malucelli, Aston Martin, 120
3. Leo, Bruni, Ferrari, 113
4. Montermini, Lopez, Ferrari, 99
5. Narac, Pilet, Porsche, 92
1. Zampieri, Dalle Stelle, Ferrari, 58 points
2. Hamilton, Mapelli, Porsche, 50
3. Bizzari, Ferrari, 50
Teams Super GT
1. Manthey-Racing, Porsche, 53 points
2. Villois Racing, Aston Martin, 52
3. Alfa Corse, Ferrari, 50
Manufacturer Super GT
1. Ferrari, 123 points
2. Porsche, 88
3. Aston Martin, 52
Races 11 and 12 of the International GT Open are contested on 7 to 9 September in Budapest/Hungary.
This is the International GT Open
Inaugurated in 2006, the International GT Open features two races per weekend with identical points’ allocation – the first race on Saturday runs over 70 minutes, the second on Sunday over 50. Two drivers share the cockpit. A handicap system ensures more suspense at the head of the field. The top three drivers of each race are handed a 15, ten or five second penalty respectively for the following race. The calendar of the race series includes eight races on selective circuits like Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps and the Nürburgring.
One of the keys to success in the International GT Open is the stable technical regulations and the capping of costs, for instance through control tyres. The grid is divided into two classes, the stronger Super GT category and the GTS class.
Super GT: This class is based on the FIA GT2 regulations - the 911 GT3 RSR competes here. The particularly efficient six-cylinder boxer engine in the International GT Open version delivers significantly more than 500 hp.
GTS: Based on the FIA GT3 regulations. The Porsche 911 GT3 R is fielded here, now delivering 500 hp after the new model year underwent improvements.
In 2007, Autorlando Sport won the overall classification for drivers and teams with Porsche works driver Richard Lietz (Austria) and Joel Camathias from Switzerland.
Communication Porsche AG