26 aprile 2016
Estoril, 25 April 2016 - Phil Keen and Shaun Balfe brilliantly took the first win of the season for the Balfe Motorsport Ferrari 458 in a sunny afternoon at Estoril. The British pair put a perfect performance to take their maiden GT Open win after 4 podium finishes last year. They beat the BMW of Team Teo Martín of Fernando Monje and Gustavo Yacamán and the Team Lazarus Lamborghini of Fabrizio Crestani and Thomas Biagi.
The race. At the start poleman Crestani takes a good start and controls first lap ahead of Keen, Tappy (Garage 59 McLaren) and Monje in full fight. Keen is pressing Crestani and starts to be threatening, which allows Tappy and Monje to join the fight. In lap 3, an aggressive Tappy takes the lead, with also Keen passing Crestani, while Monje slides back progressively. In lap 18, opens the window for driver change but the leading trio delays the stop, with Tappy first having pulled away a bit and Keen and Crestani still in fight. After the driver change, it’s Balfe leading, 19 seconds ahead of Benham (McLaren), then a compact group formed by Yacamán, Saravia, Biagi, Estre, Rodriguez and Castellacci.
Final laps. With Balfe keeping stable his advantage of around 20 seconds, now over Yacamán as Benham loses ground, the battle in the final 15 minutes is for third, between Saravia, Biagi and Estre. It’s great battle also between Sijthoff and Lémeret for second in GT-Am behind solid leader Coimbra (Mercedes), but things will not change, with the Renault RS01 of Filipe Barreiros in second place. Stephane Lemeret and Claudio Sdanewitsch are third.
Race-2. On Sunday Garage59 (McLaren) took its maiden win in the International GT Open while in GT-Am, Luis Silva-António Coimbra (Sports&You Mercedes) repeated victory ahead of Lémeret-Sdanewitsch (AF Corse Ferrari) and António Nogueira (Porsche 911R). Next race will be at Spa-Francorchamps on May 21-22.