GT

GT Open: Series Donington preview

Ferrari And Porsche To Seek Tie Break In Donington * The 997 and F430 camps tied at 3 wins each after Spa * Lietz-Roda lead standings with only 12 points over Fassler-Camathias * Aston threatens Ferrari supremacy in GTS * 25 cars expected in ...

Ferrari And Porsche To Seek Tie Break In Donington

* The 997 and F430 camps tied at 3 wins each after Spa
* Lietz-Roda lead standings with only 12 points over Fassler-Camathias
* Aston threatens Ferrari supremacy in GTS
* 25 cars expected in second-ever GT Open event in the UK
* Apex Jaguar (with Jones-Clarke) to debut in the GT Open

No rest for the International GT Open community : only a couple of days after the event in Spa-Francorchamps, teams and drivers are heading to the United Kingdom for the fourth round of the season, which will take place in Donington Park next week-end (4-5 July). The historic and selective track in the East Midlands, which is being upgraded in view of its inclusion in the Formula 1 calendar as from next year, will host the second-ever GT Open event in Britain, following the race in Brands Hatch in 2007. The meeting also includes the fourth round of the Euro F.3 Open.

After the impressive form shown by the Porsches in Belgium (the German cars won both races and trusted four podium positions out of six), the Ferraris will be eager to take their revenge, on a track which has different characteristics from Spa. The two manufacturers are so far tied in number of victories during this season (3 each) and the battle for the title is hotter than ever.

Thanks to their excellent Spa week-end, Richard Lietz-Gianluca Roda (Autorlando Porsche) are the new leaders of the provisional standings, only 12 points ahead of Switzerland's Marcel Fassler-Joel Camathias on the Trottet Ferrari. Third is the Advanced Ferrari of Michele Rugolo-Giacomo Ricci (32 points behind), closely followed by Portuguese pair Manuel Gião-Pedro Couceiro, in the second Autorlando Porsche and 36 points behind. Not much further behind are Patrick Pilet-Raymond Narac (who allowed the other top Porsche team, France's IMSA Performance, to join the winners' club last week-end in Spa) and the Megadrive Ferrari of Marco Cioci-Piergiuseppe Perazzini.

The GTS category continues to be led by the Ferrari F430 GT3 Scuderia of Kessel Racing entrusted to Philipp Peter-Michal Broniszewski, but the Spa races proved that the two Aston Martins DBRS9 of Villois Racing are closing the gap. Their leading driver, Max Wiser, is now only 4 points from the top of the standings and the Piedmont-based team is now leading the rankings among GTS teams. No doubt that being on British soil will be an additional motivation for the blue-purple Astons.

With some of the teams not having undertaken the second part of this long, double outing (most of them are traveling directly to the UK from Belgium, without going back to their base), the Donington entry should be around 25 cars and more about quality than quantity.

British colors will be well represented, especially in GTS, with the presence of teams already competing in the 2009 GT Open such as Chad Racing and Mtech Racing, and new entries such as the Lamborghini Gallardo of Tech9 Motorsport. One confirmed and interesting novelty is the Jaguar XKR-S of Apex Motorsport, which will be driven by Adam Jones and Leyton Clarke. This is the first time that a Jaguar will be competing in a GT Open event and this will also be the debut in the series for the team founded by the late Richard Lloyd.

In the Super GT category, British fans will follow with great interest the performance of Peter Bamford and Matt Griffin. The British gentleman-driver and his young and fast Irish mate, in their second season at the wheel of an Advanced Ferrari, are the most faithful English-speaking participants to the series. They are particularly eager to do well in Donington and why not, clinch a second victory, after their wonderful success in Monza last year.

Most noticeable changes in driver line-ups include the come-back of Ferdinando Monfardini (replacing Kralev in Vittoria's Super GT Ferrari) and young Spaniard Miquel Julià joining Iradj Alexander on the Corvette prepared by Red Racing.

As usual, the Spa-Francorchamps GT Open will get TV coverage throughout Europe thanks to Eurosport and Motors TV and additional live coverage in Spain (Canal +), Italy (Nuvolari) and Portugal (Sport TV).

-credit: gt open

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About this article
Series GT
Drivers Joel Camathias , Marcel Fassler , Michele Rugolo , Marco Cioci , Richard Lloyd , Pedro Couceiro , Manuel Giao , Adam Jones , Raymond Narac , Patrick Pilet , Philipp Peter , Richard Lietz , Giacomo Ricci , Peter Bamford , Alexander Iradj , Gianluca Roda , Matt Griffin