The international Porsche customer teams are sitting in promising positions for the final spurt of the International GT Open. At races 11 and 12 on the Hungaroring, works driver Marco Holzer (Germany) and his British teammate Nick Tandy put in a strong performance in the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Manthey-Racing that was rewarded with a podium spot on Saturday. At the 100th round of the International GT Open on Sunday, Holzer/Tandy finished in fifth. This puts the pair in second place in the drivers’ standings heading to the last two meetings in Monza and Barcelona. On Saturday, Italy’s Autorlando Sport team scored second and third place with their 911 GT3 R in the GTS class. The British/Italian pair, Archie Hamilton and Marco Mapelli now ranks third in the GTS classification and is within striking distance to the top.
For the drivers of the Manthey team, the final phases of both races on the 4.381 kilometre Grand Prix circuit proved extremely exciting – and decisive. Marco Holzer had taken up Saturday’s 70-minute race from the sixth grid spot and handed the 911 GT3 RSR to Nick Tandy at the mandatory driver change in fourth position. “Our tyre pressure was a little too low, that’s why Marco was unable to go full attack,” explained team boss Olaf Manthey. “Then we changed the tyre pressure at the pit stop which put Nick in a better position.” Tandy made the most of it. After spending his handicap seconds in the pits he was only sixth, but then the reigning champion of the Carrera Cup Deutschland managed to conquer fourth place and close in on the three cars at the front. The teams in positions one, two and three are handed penalty seconds in order to keep the fight at the top gripping. The Briton fended off an attacking Ferrari driver during his stint and profited from the skirmishes amongst the leading trio. Finally, Tandy caught the three and made his move. In the very last lap he overtook the third-placed Aston Martin to secure the last podium spot for his team.
On Sunday, Tandy catapulted his Porsche into fourth with a brilliant start. After a competitor spun he inherited third place. At the driver change, the two lost a spot due to the 15 handicap seconds, but Marco Holzer soon managed to catch up to the driver running in third – but he knew how to defend his position. “The Corvette seemed to be as wide as a truck,” said Marco Holzer with grim smile. “On the straights it pulled away from me, and in the tight corners there was no way past it because I didn’t want to risk a collision.” Bad luck for Holzer who was held up by his opponent: In the last lap, a Ferrari managed to slip by the Manthey 911 and relegate the Porsche to finish fifth. “Still, with a podium result and important points we can be quite happy,” said Holzer. “We are sitting second in the championship shortly before the end of the season with first place still within reach.”
IMSA Performance Matmut’s two French drivers, factory pilot Patrick Pilet and team owner Raymond Narac, finished eighth on Saturday and sixth on Sunday in the Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. “The qualifying and the first race were difficult,” commented Pilet. “The 911 was tricky to drive because of a faulty front damper. That’s why we had to take up the second race from 16th but we were determined to fight.” And that is exactly what they did. Narac came back from the first lap sitting 13th. And they continued in this vein until the chequered flag. At the finish, the well-rehearsed duo had made up twelve places. “That ran much better today,” said a delighted Pilet. “With the new shock absorber we were considerably faster. We are not yet matching the pace of our rivals but we’re working hard on this to lessen the gap. From 16th on the grid to sixth place – that’s really not too bad.”
Joy on Saturday and frustration on Sunday for Autorlando Sport. On Saturday, the Autorlando pilots celebrated their GTS podium. Archie Hamilton and Marco Mapelli clinched a convincing second place and the Italian teammates Matteo Beretta and Marcello Puglisi finished in third. At Sunday noon it looked as if Mapelli/Hamilton would dominate the race. The Italian driver put in a perfect start to make up three positions and take the lead of the GTS category which he defended from the attacking Ferraris using every trick in the book. Shortly before the driver change a rival pushed him into the gravel with a rough manoeuvre. At the flag, only a disappointing seventh in the GTS class was possible. Beretta/Puglisi earned points with fifth.
For the two gentlemen drivers of the Spanish Drivex School team, Miguel Angel de Castro (Spain) and Miguel Amaral (Portugal), the 99th race of the International GT Open proved to be more successful than the anniversary race. On Saturday both were delighted with 15th place in their 911 GT3 RSR, Sunday’s race concluded with the position 22, six laps behind the winner.
Result race 11
1. Ramos/Giammaria (P/I), Chevrolet Corvette C6R, 1:10.48.785 hours
2. Bruni/Leo (I/I), Ferrari 458 GT Italia, + 0.699 second
3. Holzer/Tandy (D/GB), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 2.478
4. Lopez/Montermini (ARG/I), Ferrari 458 GT Italia, + 2.719
5. Malucelli/Barba (I/E), Aston Martin Vantage, + 3.291
8. Narac/Pilet (F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 26.830
10. Mapelli/Hamilton (I/GB), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 53.274
12. Beretta/Puglisi (I/I), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 1:16.745 minutes
15. Amaral/De Castro (P/E), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 1 lap
Result race 12
1. Malucelli/Barba (I/E), Aston Martin Vantage, 50:10.722 minutes
2. Lopez/Montermini (ARG/I), Ferrari 458 GT Italia, + 0.337 seconds
3. Sijthoff/Moncini (NL/I), Chevrolet Corvette C6R, + 28.184
4. Bruni/Leo (I/I), Ferrari 458 GT Italia, + 28.468
5. Holzer/Tandy (D/GB), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 28.887
6. Pilet/Narac (F/), Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, + 39.734
14. Beretta/Puglisi (I/), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 1:09.488 minutes
16. Mapelli/Hamilton (I/GB), Porsche 911 GT3 R, + 1:10.002
Points’ standings after 12 of 16 races
1. Barba, Malucelli, Aston Martin, 150 points
2. Holzer, Tandy, Porsche, 142
3. Leo, Bruni, Ferrari, 141
4. Montermini, Lopez, Ferrari, 127
5. Narac, Pilet, Porsche, 98
1. Zampieri, Dalle Stelle, Ferrari, 66 points
2. Bizzari, Ferrari, 60
3. Hamilton, Mapelli, Porsche, 58
Teams Super GT
1. Villois Racing, Aston Martin, 65 points
2. Alfa Corse, Ferrari, 62
3. Manthey-Racing, Porsche, 62
Races 13 and 14 of the International GT Open are contested on 28 to 30 September in Monza/Italy.