A 3-way title battle and 23 cars for the grand finale
The moment of truth had come:
the International GT Open 2016 was heading towards its last stop and the decisive battle for the title. As the tradition wants it, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was hosting the season-closer, which was, once again, a feast for racing fans. As usual, the autumn round in Catalonia has attracted a stellar entry, with 23 cars (representing 8 different car brands) in the entry list, the best of the year.
The screenplay was certainly not new for the GT Open: it was again a three-way battle up to the last meter for the overall title. This time, the contenders were the Lamborghini #27 (Thomas Biagi - Fabrizio Crestani, Orange1 Team Lazarus) 149 points, the BMW #2 (Gustavo Yacamán - Fernando Monje, BMW team Teo Martin) 120 points and the McLaren #22 (Shaun Balfe – Philip Keen, Balfe Motorsport) 109 points for Shaun Balfe . With still 44 points at stake (and none of the title bidders having to drop results), the games were still wide open.
In the GT-Am category, champagne was ready in the fridge for Luis Silva and António Coimbra as the Portuguese pair of the Sports&You Mercedes #99 had virtually already won the title. And in the Teams’ competition, BMW Team Teo Martín only needed one point to secure the honours.
Thomas Biagi and Fabrizio Crestani (Lamborghini Huracan #27 - Orange1 Team Lazarus) are the 2016 International GT Open Champions. By taking second behind Kévin Estre-Peter Terting (Porsche 911 GT3 R #28 - Attempto Racing) in saturday’s race, the Italian pair reached the title certainty, as their main rivals Yacamán-Monje (BMW M6 GT3 #2 - BMW Team Teo Martín) finished only 13th after a difficult race.
Saturday’s race saw a great win of Kévin Estre and Peter Terting, one of the exceptional entries in this event. The French GT star and the German driver, on his return to the forefront of the international scene, put on a faultless performance. By taking third, Shaun Balfe and Phil Keen (Balfe Motorsport McLaren #22) will keep open the fight for the runner-up position in the championship, as Shaun Balfe is now tied (at 123 points) with Yacamán-Monje ahead of sunday’s race.
It was a triumphant return for Kessel Racing in GT-Am as Stephen Earle-Daniel Patel (Ferrari 458 GT3 #111) won ahead of Maurice and Benjamin Ricci (Mercedes AMG GT3 #87 - AKKA ASP) and Armin Aka-Jürgen Häring (Porsche 911 GT3 R #29 - Attempto Racing) third.
A dramatic and eventful Race 2 put an end to the 2016 season of the International GT Open. Daniel Zampieri and Marco Antonelli (Lamborghini Huracan GT3 #25 - Antonelli Motorsport), took a superb win, controlling well a race that was marked by two safety-car periods. A contact between Côme Ledogar (McLaren 650 S GT3 #88 - Garage 59) and Peter Terting (Porsche 911 GT3 R #28 - Attempto Racing) in lap 4 prompted the first one, with the other at the end caused by the severe impact of Jean-Luc Beaubelique (Mercedes AMG GT3 #89 – AKKA ASP), who also involved DuncanTappy (McLaren 650 S GT3 #59 - Garage 59).
Miguel Ramos-Pieter Schothorst (BMW M6 GT3 #1 - BMW Team Teo Martín) took second, confirming the Teams title for Teo Martín Motorsport. The runner-up position in the overall championship changed in the penultimate lap, when Yacamán-Monje’s BMW collided with the leading car and was forced to retire, leaving the honours to Shaun Balfe, today 6th with Phil Keen.
The Gt-Am race was also decided in the final lap, with Jürgen Häring-Arkin Aka taking a last-minute win for the Attempto Racing Porsche.
Final 2016 Standings
1st Fabrizio Crestani / Thomas Biagi 183 points
2nd Shaun Balfe 132 points
3th Fernando Monje / Gustavo Yacamán 125 points
Championship GT3 AM Classification
1st António Coimbra / Luis Silva
2nd Filipe Barreiros
3th Stéphane Lémeret
Championship Team's Classification
1st BMW Team Teo Martin
2nd Orange 1 Team Lazarus
3th Garage 59
My traditional favorite of the Week End
For this last report of the season, my favorite goes to the three Aston Martin Vantage presents in Barcelona.
Why this choice? I appreciate this car.
The 11 Mark Farmer /Jon Barnes TF Sport Chassis AMRVANTAGEGT3-029
The 21 Francesco Sini / Jody Fannin Solaris Motorsport Chassis AMRVANTAGEGT3-030
The 34 Salih Yoluc / Euan Hankey TF Sport Chassis AMRVANTAGEGT3-011
See you in 2017 for a new International Open GT Season.
(Based on International Open GT Press release)