Nicky Pastorelli and Miguel Ramos, with the Corvette of V8 Racing, extended their lead in the International GT Open by taking their fourth win of the season in Race-1 today at Spa. Their success was favored by a safety-car period occurred at mid-race after Tutumlu’s crash) which benefitted the early pitters. “It was an unexpected win today, as we had been struggling a bit with the set-up”, admitted the pair, “but the lucky push we got today compensates the bad luck in Silverstone, where we were thrown off-track at first corner.” Their main rivals in the championship, Montermini-Schirò (Villorba Ferrari) finished 6th today, with the podium being completed by the AF Corse Ferraris of newcomers Pasin Lathouras-Richard Lloyd and Matt Griffin-Duncan Cameron. That meant a 1-2 in GTS for the Italian squad, ahead of the Ombra F458 of Stefano Gattuso and Stefano Costantini, on the podium on his return after his accident in Jerez. Claudio Sdanewitsch (AF Corse) took another win in the Gentlemen’s Trophy that he leads.
THE RACE - Sun and some rain drops seem to be still fighting as the start is given, on a pretty dry track, and without the Easy Race Ferrari of Mancini, which remained stuck on the grid at formation lap.
At the start, poleman Hamilton keeps the advantage on Gattuso, but both are passed by Soulet at Kemmel straight, with Griffin stealing third from Gattuso, who retakes his third place briefly at the Raidillon on lap 2, followed by Zampieri. After lap 2, Soulet leads with 2 seconds over Hamilton, then Gattuso, Zampieri, Griffin, Montermini, Ruberti, Lyons, Ramos and Camathias. In lap 6, Ruberti spins at La Source after contact from Lyons, being passed by the Brit and Ramos. In the meantime, Zampieri has passed Gattuso and flies away to chase Hamilton. The Italian would pass on 9th lap. In lap 11, Hamilton has to let Gattuso past too. In the same lap, Montermini takes fourth from Griffin.
That 12th laps sees also a dramatic puncture (rear left) for Zampieri at Les Combes while Hamilton seems also to have trouble with the tires and makes an early pit stop for driver change, followed by Ramos and Zampieri who manages to get to the pits despite body damage. But surprises are not over as Tutumlu on cold tires goes wides at Raidillon and crashes into the barriers right after rejoining the track.
The safety-car is deployed, which plays against those not having done the driver change yet (including the first four: Soulet, Gattuso, Montermini and Ruberti) although the window is later extended ten minutes after the 4-lap SC period.
After all changes, the situation has completely changed with three early pitters on top: Pastorelli leads on Lathouras and Cameron, then Sijthoff, Costantini, Suzanne Weidt, Roda, Schirò, Persiani and Beretta. The Easy Race Ferrari and the Audi of Weidt-Gatting get a 1-lap penalty for pitting during safety-car period, while 30 seconds are inflicted to the V8 Corvette of Sijthoff for not serving the entire handicap. Pastorelli takes the win ahead of Lathouras, Cameron, Costantini, Roda, Schirò and Sijthoff.