The new McLaren 720S has taken its maiden win in the International GT Open, as Fran Rueda and Andrés Saravia won Race 1 at Hockenheim, in the first visit of the series to the German track. In a warm afternoon, the Teo Martín Motorsport proved the competitiveness of the British machine, rounding the day with the fourth spot of the sister car driven by Martin Kodrić and Henrique Chaves. The Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 of Matt Griffin-Duncan Cameron was a brilliant second (and Pro-Am winner), after leading in the first part of the race, while Mercedes was the third brand represented in the podium, thanks to the SPS Automotive AMG car of Valentin Pierburg-Tom Onslow-Cole, which had taken the pole position in the morning. Rueda-Saravia are now second in the standings, four points behind Costa-Altoè.
In the all-Mercedes Am category, Alex Hracowina-Martin Konrad (HTP Motorsport ) continue unbeaten, with their third success in a row, today ahead of Coimbra-Silva (Sport&You) and newcomers Janine Hill-John Shoffner (GetSpeed Performance).
THE RACE – It’s big battle at the start with Matt Griffin passing poleman Onslow-Cole at first corner and taking the lead. Third is Dontje, then di Folco, Rueda, Grenier, Khodair, Costa and Kodrić. There is close fighting in all compartments and in lap 2, Liang and Rovera collide quite heavily at turn 6, prompting the safery-car out. Rovera is ok but brought to hospital for further checks.
The race resumes in lap 5, with positions not changing much and gaps remaining small. There is a nice fight for 6th between Costa, Grenier, Khodair, Kodrić and Wilkinson, and also between Schandorff and Jäger. Roda leads in the Am class until lap 1è, when he remains stranded in the gravel.
In lap 16, the window for driver change opens, with Rueda, Froggatt, Ramos and Wilkinson among the first to stop. The three leaders (covered by only 6 second) pit late (lap 21) and basically together. Xhen all driver changes are made, Cameron leads on Saravia by 1.3 econds only, with Pierburg third (-6 s), then Chaves and Altoè (-9s) and further aback, Ward, Turner, Siedler and Hahn. In lap 24, Saravia steals the lead from Cameron. Nicest battle is between Chaves and Altoè, but the Italian almost loses the car as he runs wide in lap 26. Still, one lap later, he manages to pass and take fourth. He will continue climbing and pass Pierburg for third in the last lap, but a 3-second penalty for track limits make him drop to fifth. Equally thrilling is the fight for 7th, with Siedler passing Turner in the closing laps.
It’s victory for Saravia ahead of Cameron, Pierburg, Chaves, Altoè, Ward, Siedler and Turner. In Am, Martin signs the third consecutive success of the year ahead Silva and Shoffner.
The Lazarus Racing #26 was withdrawn from the meeting following damages sustained in Fabio Onidi’s accident at Turn 1 in qualifying.
Based on an analysis of driver performances in the Pro-Am class, the Organizing Committee decided to re-categorize a number of cars. Cars #12, 19, 96 were moved to the Pro class (losing the handicaps they had acquired in Pro-Am). Cars #33, 66 and 93 remained in the Pro-Am class, with an additional handicap of 5 seconds.