Maranello, 16 April 2018 – Mikkel Mac and Alessandro Pier Guidi capped off a successful first International GT Open weekend with victory in the second race, putting the #51 Luzich Racing Ferrari duo in prime position to fight for the championship.
Solid weekend. FIA WEC World Champion and Mac dominated Race-1 in front of the Lamborghini of Mul-Venturini and the other Ferrari 488 GT3 of RS Racing crewed by Ferrari Challenge Europe champion Daniele Di Amato and Andrea Montermini. On Sunday things were a bit more complicated since the rain affected qualifying. As the 60-minute encounter got underway, pole-sitter Toby Sowery (#28 Daiko Lazarus Lamborghini) was swallowed up by both Jeroen Mul (#63 Imperiale Lamborghini) and Alessandro Pier Guidi before Turn 1. Pier Guidi had the inside line into the first turn, and while Mul allowed enough room for both to stay on track through the quick Turn 2, the Imperiale Lamborghini driver held off Pier Guidi going into Turn 3, and kept hold of the lead as the pair built a gap over Sowery and the chasing pack in the early minutes.
Longer pitstops. Up front, with a gap between the top two and Sowery in third, Alessandro Pier Guidi was looking to dispatch Jeroen Mul, no doubt with the pit window in mind; thanks to their successes in Saturday’s race, the #51 Luzich Ferrari would be in pitlane for 80 seconds rather than the standard 65. Mul and teammate Giovanni Venturini also had their eye on the clock for the same reason, with a 75 second pitstop scheduled for them. After a good run down the main straight, Pier Guidi had the inside line into Turn 1, and completed the move into Turn 2. The Italian then set about building a cushion, to ensure that teammate Mikkel Mac would get out ahead of reigning champion Venturini. Meanwhile, Pro-Am leading Bradley Ellis (#96 Optimum Motorsport Audi) was overtaken for fourth by Riccardo Agostini in the #25 Imperiale Lamborghini. When the pit window opened at the 24-minute mark of the race, Agostini was one of the first drivers in, handing over to teammate Rik Breukers. While there were no penalty seconds applied to their pitstop after a non-finish in Race-1, there would be a single second applied to their race time after the chequered flag due to a track limits infringement from Agostini; both of those points would become critical in the second half of the race.
Closing stages. At half-race distance, both Pier Guidi and Mul pitted from the top two positions. The #51 Luzich Ferrari, now in the hands of Mikkel Mac, made it out in front of Giovanni Venturini in the Lamborghini. However, both were behind Breukers in the other green car. While Venturini was three seconds behind the top two, there was not such cushion for Breukers, who had the red Ferrari filling his mirrors within moments of Mac leaving the pits. Soon, Mac began attacking Breukers in earnest, which allowed Venturini to close up. At Turn 6, with just under 20 minutes to go, Mac took the outside line, and managed to find enough grip to stay alongside Breukers into Turn 7. Since the Dane had the inside line, Breukers had no choice but to yield. Mac would ultimately build a lead of six seconds during the latter stages of the race, taking a second commanding win in as many days at Estoril in front of Venturini and Breukers. Kang Ling (#6 Vincenzo Sospiri Racing Lamborghini) and Andrea Montermini (#11 RS Racing Ferrari) would complete both the overall and PRO class top five.
Pro-Am. In Pro-Am class in both days there was a Ferrari podium thanks to Alexander West and Michele Rugolo in the #71 Luzich Racing Ferrari. Mercedes won both on Saturday (with #20 SPS Automotive Performance’s Valentin Pierburg and Tom Onslow-Cole) and Sunday (with #16 Drivex School’s Marcelo Hahn and Allam Khodair).
Standings. With a pair of wins for Mac and Pier Guidi in the #51 Luzich Ferrari, and a pair of second places for defending champion Giovanni Venturini and teammate Jeroen Mul in the #63 Imperiale Lamborghini, the Ferrari pairing leave Estoril with 30 points, six ahead of the Imperiale duo. The next event for the International GT Open will see the teams travel to Paul Ricard on the 5th and 6th of May.