In the Royal Park of Monza, the international Porsche customer teams have again scored victories. At race 13 of the International GT Open on Saturday, Porsche works driver Patrick Pilet and his French compatriot Raymond Narac (IMSA Performance Matmut) claimed their first win of the season in the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR under extremely challenging track conditions. Factory pilot Marco Holzer (Germany) and his British teammate Nick Tandy clinched position three in the 911 GT3 RSR fielded by Manthey-Racing – and temporarily moved to the top of the points’ table. And the Autorlando Sport squad also celebrated a victory in the GTS class with the 911 GT3 R on Saturday at their home race. At race 14 on Sunday, Holzer/Tandy scored fifth ahead of Pilet/Narac in sixth. In the GTS class, Autorlando again achieved a podium result.
Especially the 70-minute race on Saturday on the 5.793 kilometre high speed circuit of Monza turned into a real thriller – not least due to the fact that the race started on a wet track, the ideal line then almost dried, only to have rain set in just before the finish. Raymond Narac had taken off from fifth on the grid and handed the wheel of the IMSA-Performance 911, now fitted with slicks, to Patrick Pilot running eighth after an immaculate stint. “That was really difficult, particularly at the beginning of my stint,” said Pilet. “We’re not permitted to pre-heat the tyres in the GT Open – and the track was terribly slippery. But our strategy was perfect. We changed at exactly the right time. During my first lap I got everything I could out of myself and the car. And that’s how I could fight for the lead. When it started raining again towards the end I had to throw my full concentration into my effort. The key to success was the excellent traction of our 911 GT3 RSR on the extremely slippery circuit.” On Sunday, the French duo took off into the 14th race of the season from pole position, but in the dry their rivals proved uncatchable. “The balance of our 911 was good but we didn’t have the top speed on the long straights,” said Pilet.
The Manthey-Racing squad were over the moon with their podium result on Saturday. “We made a mistake in qualifying with our tyre choice,” explained Marco Holzer. “We thought the track would dry quickly.” This put Tandy down on the eleventh grid spot. In an all-out effort, the reigning champion of the Carrera Cup Deutschland moved into fifth, only to slide into a spin and slot back into 14th. By the time Tandy came in for the mandatory driver change he was running tenth. With Marco Holzer at the wheel of the yellow and green Manthey 911, the suspense continued. The German clocked stunning lap times and lay within striking distance of Ferrari, the main rival in the fight for the drivers’ title, when he was also hampered by a minor slide when rain set in. Again, Holzer went on the hunt for the last podium spot - and grabbed it when the Ferrari pilot spun in the final lap. “That was a brutal race – I was always at 120 per cent effort,” said Holzer grinning. “Nick told us via radio that we should switch to slicks for my stint. But the track was still really damp, it was truly a gamble. That we’ve yielded a podium result is good for the driver’s classification.” With third place, Holzer and Tandy temporarily moved back into the lead of the overall classification.
Already in the first chicane a damper was put on any ambitions for Sunday’s race, which Holzer started from second. “It was incredibly tight, I had to run wide otherwise it would have resulted in a collision,” said Holzer. “This caused me to drive on the kerbs and it damaged the front splitter of the 911. This affected the aerodynamics and the top speed. We’re seven points off the points’ leaders heading to the finale and that’s not much.”
For the Italian Autorlando team, the races on their home circuit concluded with a win and a second place in the GTS Class. Matteo Beretta and Marcello Puglisi (both Italy) won on Saturday. With a spirited overtaking manoeuvre, they moved to the front of the GTS category with their 911 GT3 R shortly before the flag and scored their second win of the season. Bad luck, however, hampered their team colleagues Archie Hamilton (Great Britain) and Marco Mapelli (Italy). The pair led the GTS class in both Saturday’s and Sunday’s race over almost the entire distance. This was particularly exceptional because on Saturday afternoon the front splitter of the 911 had been shunted in the melee of the race and the car gradually lost more and more plastic parts. Mapelli had to pit with a damaged tyre, and was finally flagged off as fourth. On Sunday as well, Mapelli/Hamilton looked set to bring home the GTS victory, only to have tyre damage in the last lap rob them of their dreams. Hamilton salvaged position two, with team colleagues Beretta/Puglisi scoring fourth in the GTS class.
The season final of the 2012 International GT Open takes place with races 15 and 16 on 2 to 4 November in Barcelona/Spain.
Result race 13
1. Narac/Pilet (F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 1:10.24.578 hours
2. Ramos/Giammaria (P/I), Chevrolet Corvette C6R, + 23.096 seconds
3. Holzer/Tandy (D/GB), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 42.188
4. Bruni/Leo (I/I), Ferrari 458 GT Italia, + 44.030
5. Lopez/Montermini (ARG/I), Ferrari 458 GT Italia, + 45.293
8. Beretta/Puglisi (I/I), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 1:23.676 minutes
13. Mapelli/Hamilton (I/GB), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 1 lap
Result race 14
1. Malucelli/Barba (I/E), Aston Martin Vantage, 50:52.490 minutes
2. Bruni/Leo (I/I), Ferrari 458 GT Italia, + 6.062 seconds
3. Lopez/Montermini (ARG/I), Ferrari 458 GT Italia, + 7.836
4. Ramos/Giammaria (P/I), Chevrolet Corvette C6R, + 27.343
5. Holzer/Tandy (D/GB), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 33.792
6. Pilet/Narac (F/), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 47.652
9. Mapelli/Hamilton (I/GB), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 1.41.769 minutes
11. Beretta/Puglisi (I/), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 1.41.891
Points’ standings after 14 of 16 races
1. Leo, Bruni, Ferrari, 177 points
2. Holzer, Tandy, Porsche, 170
3. Barba, Malucelli, Aston Martin, 155
4. Montermini, Lopez, Ferrari, 135
6. Narac, Pilet, Porsche, 124
1. Zampieri, Dalle Stelle, Ferrari, 76 points
2. Bizzari, Ferrari, 71
3. Hamilton, Mapelli, Porsche, 70
4. Rizzoli, Ferrari, 53
5. Beretta/Puglisi, Porsche, 43
Teams Super GT
1. AF Corse, Ferrari, 78 points
2. Manthey-Racing, Porsche, 74
3. Villois Racing, Aston Martin, 66
1. Autorlando Sport, Porsche, 113 points
2. Kessel Racing, Ferrari, 112
3. AF Corse, Ferrari, 81