GT Open: Portimao Report
The second Round of the GT Open took place at the scenic circuit of the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, commonly referred to as Portimão Circuit. The track is located in the coastal sunny region of Portimão, in Portugal. Round 1 at the Nurburgring saw a dominant performance by the Corvette C6R Machines of both V8 Racing and returnee's Selleslagh Racing Team. A new addition for the 2014 season began in Portimao, with the signing of ex-Porsche driver Isaac Tutumlu into the SRT stable under the "Barzani Racing Team" moniker.
Qualifying began perfectly for the V8 machines, with newcomer Tutumlu capturing the fastest lap, with a laptime of 1:46.745. "The car was again really really good and I overpassed my expectations, by doing a 1:46,7 and getting the pole for Race 1," explains Tutumlu. "After my run, Maxime did the same great performance and took the pole for race 2, so it couldn't have been better ahead of both races!"
After a brisk start and controlling first stint, Tutumlu haned over his nr6 C6R to Soulet with the Ferrari of Schiro ahead on track. A great drive by the Belgian saw him overtake the Ferrari on lap 29 to regain the lead to the checquered flag. Meanwhile, the V8 Racing C6R of Pastorelli fought back from a difficult start to come home in third place. "I gave the car to Maxime and even though we had 20 seconds of handicap penalty, he remained in 2nd position and after only a few laps," explained Isaac. "Despite that disadvantage, Maxime was able to catch and overtake Schiro for the win. A fantastic result!"
Race 1 Winner Quotes:
Maxime Soulet (nr6 SRT C6R): "It was a perfect race 1 result for us. We didnt do any mistakes and the team did a great job. It paid off perfectly for us. I dont necessarily think we are the fastest car, but we had a great overall package and a team that makes no mistakes, which is how we were able to win."
Isaac Tutumlu (nr6 SRT C6R): "Its a great car. It's much easier to drive compared to the Porsche I drove before. I would like to thank the whole team from SRT, my teammate. They received me with open arms and apart of their family. I would also like to thank my sponsors for helping me achieve this win."
For Race 2, the start of the race saw the SRT C6R hold on to the lead, with Pastorelli ahead of Zampieri (in the Ferrari), and Archie Hamilton in the sister V8 C6R. After the pitstops for the leaders, the V8 Racing C6R (now in the hands of Ramos), charged through the field to gain the lead after a puncture for the Ferrari of Mavlanov caused them to tumble down the order. Meanwhile a late scare for the SRT corvette occurred, with a dramatic spin by the Ferrari of Maleev. The nr6 of Tutumlu narrowly avoided contact, which then handed the position he had gained, over to Andrea Montermini in third.
"When I was attacking to overtake the third placed car, he just spun all of a sudden in front of me at a high speed corner!" explained Tutumlu. "Thankfully I was able to narrowly avoid him, but ran wide allowing Montermini in the Ferrari to re-take back his position, thus profiting from that incident. I fought tooth and nail, trying to overtake him again, but the Ferrari is so fast in the straight and he didn't make any mistake. So in the end, we managed to bring home our car in 4th.
In the end, the nr2 V8 Racing teams C6R was able to capture their second win of the season and the third in succession for home town driver Miguel Ramos. "I am delighted," said Ramos. "Portugal is my home for many years and its my third time in a row, which is great for the team."
Race 2 Winner Quotes:
Nicky Pastorelli (nr2 V8 Racing): "The start wasn't easy: it was very tight and difficult to avoid a crash. We had to push really hard after loosing a place early on. I have to say, Miguel Did a great stint because there was quite some pressure from behind. A good result and I am especially happy for the whole team."
Archie Hamilton (nr4 C6R V8 Racing): "I felt the weekend went well, we took a big step forward and It was nice to be on the podium once again (depite the later disqualification). We really should have won especially in race one but we got a drive through but that's racing! I'm looking forward to Jerez where I hope we can get on the top step of the podium."
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