The new Lexus RC-F doubled its win harvest in Estoril, by taking also Race 2, this time with the car of the Farnbacher family, and Dominik and Mario Farnbacher at the wheel. It was again a very consistent and perfectly-executed race by the Japanese coupé, in a lively and Race 2 on a track not completely dry at times. The Farnbacher brothers also took the lead of the championship standings.
The Imperiale Racing Lamborghini of Thomas Biagi-Giovanni Venturini took an excellent second ahead of the Garage59 McLaren of Duncan Tappy-Michael Benham, which took the honours in Pro-Am (ahead of the sister car of Balfe-Bell and the AF Corse Ferrari of Perazzini-Cioci).
In the Am category, maiden win for all-Austrian Mercedes AMG by MS Racing, with Alexander Hrachowina-Martin Konrad, who preceded the two other Mercedes of Sports&You, with Silva-Coimbra and Basso-Figueiredo.
THE RACE – Tappy keeps the advantage on a dump track ahead of D.Farnbacher and Meadows, strongly attacked by Da Costa, who passes in lap 2. Then, Hamaguchi, Mowlem, Frommenwiler, Figueiredo (first in Am), Biagi and Bouveng. It’s big bfightbetween Meadows and Frommenwiler, while Farnbacher is not letting Tappy go. The field is cut in two by Hamaguchi who holds his pursuers: Figueiredo, Sini, Mac, Biagi and Bouveng. It’s a very compact group and there is a contact between Biagi and Sini.
In lap 6, race over for Da Costa who slows down on the straights. Soon after, there is a spin for the other BMW of Guedes. It’s big and beautiful fight for third between Meadows and Frommenwiler, whose repeated attacks are not successful but make perfect show, while GT hero Johnny Mowlem is an excellent fifth. By lap 13, Tappy has a 2-second advantage on D.Farnbacher, while the Bentley is already 16 seconds behind.
In lap 15, start the stops for driver change, but on track the show is in the duel between Mac and Biagi. While the changes are still on there is a contact between the Bentley of Witt and Tappy; shortly after the Bentley gets in contact also with Calamia, with Bell and Costa also passing. After all changes (lap 22) M.Farnbacher leads with 8 seconds on Benham and 25 on Venturini, who has just passed Liuzzi, then Ramos, Calamia, Bell, Costa and Witt. Hrachowina takes the lead in Am.
With ten minutes to go, Bell passes Ramos for fifth and Cioci is 7th, having got rid of Calamia. Last battle sees Venturini passing Benham for second, while Liuzzi loses a nice fourth in the last lap, because of a broken disc.
The word of the winners
Dominik Farnbacher: “The secret of the win was consistency, keeping a good pace and not doing stupid things. Even more crucial, the management of the tires, who tend to suffer a lot in understeer conditions. We saved a new set for the second stint today and that was key.”
Mario Farnbacher: “Yesterday, we were not entirely happy with the car, but we understood a number of things that we applied today, and it was a completely different story. It’s a very good start of the season, and we are very pleased, although from Spa on, we expect things to be much tougher.”
Source. International GT Open