Intl GT: Series Portimao race one report

Photofinish needed to sanction Lietz-Roda's win in Portimao A fantastic circuit could only produce a fantastic race, rich of duels and with victory decided by photofinish: Richard Lietz and Gianluca Roda gave Porsche and Autorlando their first...

Photofinish needed to sanction Lietz-Roda's win in Portimao

A fantastic circuit could only produce a fantastic race, rich of duels and with victory decided by photofinish: Richard Lietz and Gianluca Roda gave Porsche and Autorlando their first victory of the season, after a thrilling charge by the Austrian in the final laps. Giacomo Ricci and Michele Rugolo, in the Advanced Ferrari F430, were second and logically disappointed but they maintain the leadership in the championship. Third was for the Trottet Ferrari of Fassler-Camathias after a 20" sanction (for not serving the entire handicap) cost one position to local heroes Manuel Gião-Pedro Couceiro, who were key actors in a race they started from last position (their qualifying times were cancelled for carrying one tyre not marked correctly).

The GTS race was as intense and rich of changes. Eventually, the Aston Martin DBRS9 of Lucas Guerrero and Marco Petrini gave Villois Racing the first success of the season, ahead of the Vittoria Ferrari of John Horejsi and the Corvette of Jean-Claude Lagniez- Iradj Alexander.

The race had a lively start, which had as main victim poleman Raffaele Giammaria (Edil Cris Ferrari) while also the IMSA Porsches of Belloc and Narac were touched and retirred soon after. Montermini took the lead with authority ahead of Ricci, Camathias, Fernandez, Filippi and Roda while Gião climbed up to fourth after only a few laps. Key duels in the first part of the race featured Camathias and Gião on one hand (with the Portuguese losing a part of the flat bottom, a problem many cars had on this hilly track) and Montermini and Ricci, as the GP2 driver catched and passed the leader shortly before the pit-stop.

The second part of the race saw Rugolo taking control, with about 11 seconds of advantage on Couceiro, Lietz, Fassler and Kralev. The show was granted again by a Porsche-Ferrari duel between Couceiro and Fassler, while Lietz was busy with some of one usual charges. Rugolo gave the impression to be able to resist and take the chequered flag, but some traffic and a masterful last corner on the outside line brought the Austrian to beat Rugolo by centimeters.

Luca Filippi was the star of the GTS race in the early laps, running as high as sixth overall, but its gearbox would soon stop his efforts. It seemed then that victory could not escape one of the three Kessel Ferraris, with Livio-Bontempelli in best position, but all cars got trouble, with punctures on the rear left for Broniszewski and Kuzminkh and an exhaust problem for Bontempelli. The Villois Aston of Guerrero-Petrini did not waste the opportunity while Da Costa-Julià lost second because of the clutch in the last lap.

-credit: gto

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Series Road racing
Drivers Jean-Claude Lagniez , Raffaele Giammaria , Michele Rugolo , Pedro Couceiro , Manuel Giao , John Horejsi , Marco Petrini , Luca Filippi , Richard Lietz , Giacomo Ricci , Alexander Iradj , Gianluca Roda