Intl GT: Series Portimao preview

The International GT Open, Anxious To Discover Portimao As the second event of the 2009 International GT Open, to be held on next 15-17 May, approaches, expectation grows among teams and drivers to discover the new circuit of Algarve in Portimao.

The International GT Open, Anxious To Discover Portimao

As the second event of the 2009 International GT Open, to be held on next 15-17 May, approaches, expectation grows among teams and drivers to discover the new circuit of Algarve in Portimao. The Portuguese track, nested in the hills surrounding the coastal city of Portimao, has been inaugurated end of last year and widely used for testing during the winter, receiving unanimous praise from anyone who has had the chance to drive on it or simply visit it, for its state-of-the art premises and the exciting and demanding track design. "It is really one of the most exciting and spectacular tracks in Europe", says Pedro Couceiro, "which compares only with Spa, another completely natural track".

No surprise, then, that everybody is anxious to be in Portugal, especially at this period of the year! The Algarve GT Open will be the first major motorsport event in Portimao, which is not completely unknown to some of the GT Open participants, as the inaugural car race last November was the final event of the Spanish GT Championship.

Following Ferrari's double win in the opening round in Imola, Porsche will be eager to take its revenge in Portugal. At the moment Michele Rugolo and Giacomo Ricci, with their Advanced Ferrari F430, lead the standings, 4 points ahead of Lietz-Roda (Autorlando Porsche), with Fassler-Camathias (Trottet Ferrari) 6 points behind and Narac-Pilet (IMSA Porsche) 10 points from the leaders.

In the GTS category, six different constructors will be represented in Portugal, with everybody aiming at challenging the supremacy of the Kessel Ferraris.

This second event of the year has attracted a good number of new entries, for a total of 32 cars. Among new entries in Super GT, will be Spain's PRC Ferrari of Josep Mayola and Marc Carol, who never miss GT Open event in the Iberian Peninsula.

The Portuguese representation, which includes as regulars Manuel Gião and Pedro Couceiro in the Autorlando Porsche and Felix Da Costa in the Roger Ferrari GTS, will be strengthened by two additions: the Marcos LM600 of Antonio Nogueira in Super GT, and the Aston Martin DBRS9 of Vodafone Wedo Samsung Team of Antonio Coimbra and Luis Silva.

But there are more new entries. The Corvette brand will again be represented in GTS thanks to the Z06 of French GT veteran Jean-Claude Lagniez, who will share the wheel with Switzerland's Iradj Alexander, already seen in the GT Open last year. Marcos will be present also in the junior category, with the car shared by GT legend Cor Euser. From England, Piers Masarati's Chad Racing, which will make its debut in the GT Open with a Ferrari F430 GT3 for Britons Mike Cantillon and Jamie Constable, while Italy's Advanced Engineering will bring a Maserati GT Cup in addition to its four Ferraris GT2.

The Algarve GT Open will benefit from extensive TV coverage across Europe, thanks to Eurosport and Motors TV, with additional live coverage in key countries such as Italy (Nuvolari), Spain (Canal +) and Portugal (Sport TV).

-credit: intl gt

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Road racing
Drivers Jean-Claude Lagniez , Cor Euser , Piers Masarati , Michele Rugolo , Pedro Couceiro , Manuel Giao , Antonio Coimbra , Giacomo Ricci , Alexander Iradj