GT

GTO: Series Magny-Cours preview

Barba-Kaffer Ready To Retake Control In Mid-Season Round In Magny-Cours The International GT Open is heading to Magny-Cours for the fifth event of the season, which will also be the mid-season mark for the series. The traditional mid-July ...

Barba-Kaffer Ready To Retake Control In Mid-Season Round In Magny-Cours

The International GT Open is heading to Magny-Cours for the fifth event of the season, which will also be the mid-season mark for the series. The traditional mid-July rendez- vous with French fans is expected to be hot, not only because of the particularly warm summer in Western Europe, but most of all because of the close battle at the top of all championships, following a Spa-Francorchamps round that has re-opened many things.

Alvaro Barba and Pierre Kaffer, who have dominated the first half-season at the wheel of the AF Corse Ferrari F430, are still comfortable leaders but their advantage has decreased to 12 points (116 versus 104 points) with respect to the Autorlando Porsche of Richard Lietz and Gianluca Roda, who will be looking for their first win this season on a track that has often suited very well the Stuttgart machines.

The leading pair of Barba-Kaffer, after a frustrating Spa week-end, will try to recover the control of the situation. The Spaniard is now fully fit after his accident in race 2 in Belgium, and both drivers have ensured their union will not suffer of the Spain- Germany duel in the semi-final of the World Cup, which will inevitably leave one of them happier than the other...

Other Ferraris will have to be taken into account for victory, as both CRS Racing's Niarchos-Mullen and EdilCris' Giammaria-Toccacelo are among race winners this year (twice for the Britons and once for the Italians). The situation is similar in the Porsche camp, with the IMSA Performance machine of Raymond Narac and Patrick Pilet eager to shine in their home race. The French outfit has so far given to the German manufacturer its sole win this year and lie in fourth position of the overall standings.

In GTS, the fight at the top is extremely close, with three teams in 7 points. Jean- Philippe Dayraut leads (44 p.) with his Luxury Ferrari F430 GT3 and the French is of course determined to make the best use of his great experience in Magny-Cours.

Marco Frezza and Pedro Couceiro are two points behind and lead the attack of the Kessel Racing, while the new Porsche 911 GT3 of Autorlando Sport driven by Thomas Gruber and Dimitris Deverikos is only seven points behind. But, as always, there will be a number of competitive outsiders, including the Villois Aston Martins and the RPM Ford GT.

A total of 27 cars have been entered to the French round. The most notable novelties are the first appearance this year of the Sunred SR 21 (the Judd-powered Spanish GT being entrusted to Ferran Monje and WTCC ace Jordi Gene), the return of Andrea Ceccato-Alessio Salucci (who won in GTS in Valencia) on one of the Kessel Ferraris, and the presence of the Noel Del Bello Lamborghini Gallardo. With regard to driver line-ups, Stephane Ortelli is back alongside Dayraut, while the second Luxury F430 will be driven by Adam-Makowiecki, while Andrew Kirkaldy is again sharing with Klaas Hummel the second CRS Ferrari.

All the action from Magny-Cours can be followed by fans via the live broadcasts in Italy (Nuvolari), Spain (Canal + Deportes; Intereconomia TV), Portugal (Sport TV) and Poland (nSport) and the extensive delayed coverage ensured in 50 countries by Motors TV, by OTV in Lebanon and the Middle East and by Fox Sports and ESPN in Central and South America.

-source: gtopen

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Series GT
Drivers Stéphane Ortelli , Pierre Kaffer , Pedro Couceiro , Andrew Kirkaldy , Jordi Gene , Dimitris Deverikos , Raymond Narac , Patrick Pilet , Marco Frezza , Richard Lietz , Gianluca Roda , Alessio Salucci
Teams AF Corse