Thomas Biagi and Fabrizio Crestani are the 2016 International GT Open Champions, giving Lamborghini and Orange1 Team Lazarus their maiden title in the series. By taking second behind Kévin Estre-Peter Terting (Attempto Racing Porsche) in today’s Race 1, the Italian pair reached the title certainty, as their main rivals Yacamán-Monje (Teo Martín BMW) finished only 13th after a difficult race.
In the emotional moments after the race, Thomas Biagi, who reached at 40 another big international title, after his FIA-GT successes in 2003 and 2007, declared: “It’s unbelievable to win another great title and I feel very, very happy. I can’t realize yet.” His younger (28) team mate, Fabrizio Crestani, was not less elated: “It’s a great relief at this very moment and it has been an incredible season. We worked well, raising our game race after race, and I wish to congratulate everybody in the team, all our sponsors and Lamborghini for their support.”
Today’s race saw a great win of the Attempto Racing Porsche 911 R of Kévin Estre and Peter Terting, one of the exceptional entries in this event. The French GT star and the German driver, on his return to the forefront of the international scene, put on a faultless performance. By taking third, Shaun Balfe and Phil Keen (Balfe Motorsport McLaren) will keep open the fight for the runner-up position in the championship, as Balfe is now tied (at 123 points) with Yacamán-Monje ahead of tomorrow’s Race2.
It was a triumphant return for Kessel Racing in GT-Am as Stephen Earle-Daniel Patel won ahead of the AKKA ASP Mercedes of Mauro and Benjamin Ricci, with Armin Aka-Jürgen Häring (Attemto Porsche) third.
HE RACE – At the start, poleman Crestani is fastest and leads ahead of Estre and Tappy, then Yacaman in full fight with Hankey, Balfe and Gini. There is some rubbing in the group, with Coimbra stopping in the track and Moiseev back into the pits with a broken rear wing after a contact with West. Yacamán manages to pass Hankey for fourth but his gap on Crestani is already 8 seconds after 4 laps. The close duel between the BMW and the Aston is catching everybody’s attention and allows Balfe to catch up the duo. At the beginning of lap 7, at the braking of first corner, Hankey eventually manages to pass the BMW.
In the lead, Crestani is faultless and only Estre can keep the pace, 2.5 seconds behind. After 13 laps, Tappy is third 14 seconds behind, followed by Hankey, Yacamán, Balfe, Gini, Lindholm, Ramos and Fannin. Mauro Ricci leads on Häring and Earle in GT-Am.
In lap 16, Moiseev spins into the gravel, while Lindholm suffers a puncture, at the same moment the pit stop window opens, with Balfe stopping first. It’s bad luck for the BMW of Monje, as the car needs to be pushed at the restart (he will later receive a 10-second penalty). One of Gini’s tires blows in the straight in lap 21, leaving a lot of debris on the track.
After all stops, Terting leads with 7 seconds on Benham, soon passed by Biagi. Yoluc is 4th 12 seconds behind, followed by Keen, Schothorst, Policand, Zampieri and Sini. Monje is 14th , 37 seconds behind the leader. With Terting in the lead keeping a safe advantage on Biagi, and Benham a lone third, the show is put by Yoluc and Keen fighting for 4th. The Brit will pass and overtake also Benham soon after to take third. Big fight at the top of GT-Am as Perel catches Ricci and takes the lead in lap 33. In the closing laps, Balfe and Zampieri pass Benham for third, with Policand finishing 6th.
Source. International GT Open