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First round to the Corvettes and SMP Racing

03.05.2014

The Corvettes dominated the first race of the opening round of the 2014 International GT Open, in a sunny and cold afternoon at the Nürburgring. Miguel Ramos and Nicky Pastorelli imposed the V8 Racing car, with SRT Racing clinching third with Nick Catsburg and Maxime Soulet. The Benelux duo made a stunning chase from last to the podium, as Catsburg, who had taken the best start, found himself last at turn 1 after contact and spin. In between the two Vettes, the SMP Racing Ferrari F458 of poleman Daniel Zampieri and Roman Mavlanov took second after a solid race. SMP Russian Bears lived a great victory with victory in the GTS category, thanks to José Manuel Aicart and Vyacheslav Maleev, who took also the Gentlemen’s Trophy. AF Corse completed the GTS podium with the two cars of Duncan Cameron-Matt Griffin and Claudio Sdanewitsch-Federico Leo.

At the start, Catsburg imposes the power of the Corvette but at first braking he is touched by Ramos and sent into a spin, while the V8 Corvette continues with some bodywork piece touching a wheel. In the confusion, there are contacts behind, with Haggenmüller touching López, who has to retire with broken front left wheel.

Montermini takes the lead ahead of Enge, Ramos, Zamieri, Piccini, Gattuso, Aicart and Camathias.  Catsburg and Hamilton (who started last because of a broken transmission in Q1) put the show as they charge back from the last positions.

On lap 6, Tututmlu’s engine blows up and the Porsche stops at the end of the straight, with a beginning of fire coming from the bottom of the car. The safety-car is deployed, although in the wrong place (ahead of Catsburg, 9th), while soon after Plachutta spins on the oil in that spot.  The safety-car is still on when Hamilton also stops in the track with a broken engine.

Restart is on lap 11, with driver changes starting right after. Montermini precedes Enge, Zampieri, Piccini, Aicart, Gattuso, Camathias, Catsburg and Campaniço. When Montermini  stops on lap 16, Enge takes provisionally the lead.

After all pit stops, it is Pastorelli leading ahead of Schirò, Mavlanov, Maleev, Cordoni, Soulet, Roda and  Camathias, who today races alone (Venturi is in Spa for the WEC). Positions stabilize, as Soulet joins the leading trio, with Maleev in fifth ahead of Camathias and the three AF of Griffin, Leo and Roda.

In lap 26, Mavlanov passes Schirò, who is catch three laps later by Soulet, starting a nice fight, with the Belgian passing on lap 30.