At Sunday’s race of the International GT Open on the Nürburgring, the Austrian Porsche customer team Deboeuf claimed second in the GTS category and seventh in the overall classification. At the wheel of the 911 GT3 R sat Germany’s Marco Seefried and the Austrian Thomas Gruber. Porsche works driver Patrick Pilet and his French teammate Raymond Narac scored fifth place overall after starting from eleventh in the 911 GT3 RSR. The 911 GT3 RSR races in the Super GT class which is based on the FIA GT2 regulations.
The points’ leaders of the gripping sports car series, works driver Marco Holzer (Germany) and Manthey-Racing pilot Nick Tandy (Great Britain), lay in a promising position after the driver change in the 911 GT3 RSR only to have a rival shunt the 911. The car was so badly damaged that the two winners of both season-opening rounds on the Algarve were forced to retire. “The action of the Ferrari driver was totally unnecessary,” said Marco Holzer. “Nick drove a super half time and was on track to clinch a podium spot when he had to come in to the pits. There we had to sit out our 15-second time handicap. That is simply part of the GT Open when you’ve been successful. I drove out and was clearly in front of the Ferrari. He tried to overtake two cars at once in the Mercedes Arena, braked too late and hit my car at full tilt. Through no fault of our own, we had to relinquish our aim of yielding regular points. The fact that we’re still at the top of the points table is a small consolation for missing out on a podium chance.
“With fifth place we’ve achieved our aim,” said a somewhat satisfied Patrick Pilet from the IMSA Performance Matmut squad. “The position gives us valuable points, but we lose some of our handicap time because we didn’t finish in the top three. At the next race in Spa-Francorchamps we still have ten handicap seconds up our sleeve and better chances to get further ahead. But we’re looking forward to Spa in any case. For Raymond and me it’s one of the best race tracks ever.”
In order to provide suspense amongst the front-runners, there is a handicap regulation in this series handing the top three in a race a time penalty. For this reason, during the driver change from Raymond Narac to Patrick Pilet, the IMSA crew had to serve a 20-second penalty because the Frenchmen came third on Saturday at race three in the Eifel and had already earned penalty seconds on the Algarve.
The Austrian Deboeuf team narrowly missed out on GTS class victory. Making a lightning start, the former Carrera Cup pilot Marco Seefried catapulted his 911 to the front of the entire field and remained there until the driver change. Because the team had also been handed handicap seconds, he lost the overall lead as a result of the longer pit stop, but initially managed to hold on to the GTS lead. Only shortly before the race finished, Thomas Gruber had to let his pursuer pass.
Ranking fifth in the GTS class came the British-Italian duo Archie Hamilton and Marco Mapelli in the 911 GT3 R fielded by Autorlando Sport. This yielded tenth in the overall classification for the experienced GT Open Italian outfit. Thirteenth went to the Spanish Equipe Drivex School with hobby drivers Miguel Angel De Castro (Spain) and Miguel Amaral (Portugal) at the wheel of their brand new 911 GT3 RSR. “We have to get familiar with our new 911 GT3 RSR bit by bit. But we have a huge amount of fun with this great car,” stated team owner De Castro.
Result race 4
1. Montermini/Lopez (I/ARG), Ferrari 458 GT Italia, 50:06.949 minutes
2. Broniszewski/Peter (PL/A), Ferrari 458 GT Italia, + 14.140 seconds
3. Ramos/Giammaria (P/I), Ferrari 458 GT Italia, + 24.673
4. Barba/Malucelli (E/I), Aston Martin Vantage, + 26.578
5. Narac/Pilet (F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 28.402
6. Heyer/Seyffarth (D/D), Mercedes SLS AMG, + 37.167
7. Seefried/Gruber (D/A), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 44.215
10. Hamilton/Mapelli (GB/I), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 51.908
1. Holzer/Tandy, Porsche, 54 points
2. Narac/Pilet, Porsche, 52
3. Barba/Malucelli, Aston Martin, 46
4. Bizzari, 32, Ferrari, 40
5. Broniszewski/Peter, Ferrari, 36
6. Mapelli/Hamilton, Porsche, 32
Teams Super GT
1. Manthey-Racing, Porsche, 24 points
2. IMSA Performance Matmut, Porsche, 23
3. Villois Racing, Aston Martin, 21
Manufacturers Super GT
1. Ferrari, 44 points
2. Porsche, 44
3. Aston Martin, 21
Races 5 and 6 of the International GT Open will be run from 22 to 24 June in Spa-Francorchamps/Belgium.