Double success for the Astons,, Malucelli-Barba keep title battle alive


Matteo Malucelli and Álvaro Barba, with the Villois Racing Aston Martin, took their fourth win of the season in today’s Race 1 in Barcelona, keeping the title battle alive, as championship leaders Gimmi Bruni-Federico Leo (AF Corse Ferrari) finished fifth. Ahead of tomorrow’s decisive round, the Italian pair keeps an advantage (8 points) they had this morning, but on a different rival, the Aston Martin, which tomorrow will have a heavier handicap because of today’s results.

Nick Tandy-Marco Holzer were the big losers today, following a gearbox failure in their Manthey Racing Porsche in the opening laps. They now lie third in the standings, but they remain in the title’s race, 15 points behind the leaders, with 22 points still to be awarded.

The aabar Villorba Ferrari of Montermini-López took an excellent second place today, ahead of the V8 Racing Corvette of Giammaria-Ramos.

In GTS, the Aston Martin of Belgian squad GPR, with Maxime Martin and Bertrand Baguette at the wheel, took a clear victory in their debut, beating the Alméras Porsche of Anthony Beltoise-Nicolas Armindo and the Kessel Ferrari of Gattuso-Zanuttini. Daniel Zampieri-Michael Dalle Stelle, 4th, are only one point away from the mathematical certitude of the GTS title.

Kessel Racing has virtually secured the GTS Teams title, with Ferrari clinching the Manufacturers’ crown in both SGT and GTS classes.

At the start, Malucelli hesitates and loses the advantage of the pole, being passed by Bruni, Montermini and Tandy while Hamilton spins in lap 1, remaining stuck on a kerb, which prompts the safety-car out. Ramos is fifth ahead of Martin, Peter, Estre, Beltoise, Zampieri, Campaniço.

 In lap 5, Malucelli passes Tandy and one lap later Montermini, but there is a slight contact between the two Italians, while Peter passes Martin on the straight. In lap 12, Tandy slows down and stops with a fatal gearbox problem.

After the pit stop, Leo is still leading but will get passed by Lopez, Barba, Giammaria and Broniszewski while Baguette leads comfortably in GTS ahead Eskelinen, Samon, Dermont. On top of the race, López has a 2-second advantage over Barba and will keep the Spaniard behind for many laps, but the Argentine will have to give out the lead on lap 30. 

Leo, who went up to 4th after passing Broniszewski, is catched and eventually passed by Pilet, while Baguette wins the duel with  the Pole, who later punctures a tire, and takes 6th overall on top of the GTS win.