The Three Top Title Contenders Dominate First Day In The Algarve

Everything is ready in the Algarve for the grande finale of the International GT Open, which will decide the 2009 overall title. The 30 cars of the two series on track (this will be also the last event of the season for the Spanish & Iber GT Championship) were welcomed today for the two 1-hour free practice sessions by typical Atlantic weather (good temperature, some wind and a mix of sun rays and rain drops).

Clearly, expectation is growing among the GT Open's title contenders ahead of the week- end's decisive races. In the morning session, on a dry track, Richard Lietz (Autorlando Porsche) signed the fastest time, 1.45.713, 491 thousandths ahead of Patrick Pilet (IMSA Porsche) and 647 ahead of Marcel Fassler (Trottet Ferrari). In the afternoon session, on a humid track, the same three were again in the top 3, but in reversed order.

The GT Open's three leading pairs gave us their views ahead of the decisive week-end.

Marcel Fassler (who shares the Trottet Ferrari with Joel Camathias, leading the standings with 207 points): "We have a 19-point lead in the championship and feel confident in the performance of our car and in our chances, but clearly, we feel some pressure. It's never done until it is really done, and you never know what can happen, especially in a race with so many new entries. We'll do our race, in a sensible manner, and we hope it'll go well".

Richard Lietz (who shares the Autorlando Porsche with Gianluca Roda, 2nd in the championship with 188 points): "It is going difficult for us to win the title, but we will go for it and we'll fight until the very end. We will need a clever strategy and the good thing is that the car is working well again, after the drop of competitiveness we had in the middle of the season".

Raymond Narac (who shares with Patrick Pilet the IMSA Porsche currently 3rd in the standings with 174 points): "Given the position we are in, our mission is simple: maximum attack and go for it! The pressure is not on us, but obviously, we are dependant also on the performances of our rivals. This said, this exciting finale reflects the very high level of the International GT Open and we are happy to be part of it".

-credit: gto