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RUEDA-SARAVIA GIVE TEAM TEO MARTIN FIRST GT OPEN SUCCESS OF THE YEAR

BMW Team Teo Martín took its first win of the season today at the Circuit Paul Ricard in avery entertaining Race 1, which ended behind the safety-car because of a sudden shower in the final laps. The rain did not change the course of events, as Fran Rueda and Andrés Saravia had dominated the race since the start with their BMW M6. Excellent second was the Ombra Racing Lambo of Damiano Fioravanti-Fernando Rees, ahead of Marco Cioci-Mikkel Mac (Luzich Racing Ferrari), with the Dane reinforcing his championship leader.

Valentin Pierburg-Tom Onslow Cole, on their silver Mercedes, gave SPS Performance its second Pro-Am success of the season, ahead of Rugolo-West (Luzich Ferrari) and Crestani-Ramos (Lazarus Lambo). In Am, Alex Hrachowina-Martin Konrad took their first win of the year with their HTP/MS Mercedes, ahead of Basso-Marques (Teo Martín BMW) and Borlenghi-Lewandowski (VSR Lambo).

THE RACE – At the start, with few drops of rain falling, Rugolo keeps the advantage of the pole but there is confusion at first corner, with contacts and the Lambo of Breukers spinning, touched by Montermini. Soon after, an aggressive Rueda takes the lead. The BMW is first at first lap, ahead of Rugolo, Cioci, Fioravanti, Montermini, Perel, Hahn and Mul. In lap 3, Perel passes Montermini for fifth. In the lead, Rueda has pulled away and now leads with 2.2 seconds over the group.

Hahn and Beirao get in contact in lap 5; they are in a lively group with Crestani, Giammaria, Costantini and Costa, fighting for P7; one lap later, Montermini stops in the pits.  In the meantime, Cioci has passed Rugolo for second, and Perel steals 4th from Fioravanti. Crestani, Giammaria and Beirao extract themselves from the fighting group to take 7th, 8th and 9th, while Hahn holds 10th for a while before running wide and having to let Costantini and Breukers past, and a contact with Costa, who also passes him.

In the lead, Cioci is closing on Rueda and catches him by lap 13, right before the window for driver change opens, with the first two diving immediately into the pits, leaving the provisional lead to an inspired Perel, who has passed Rugolo as well. After all changes, in lap 20, Saravia leads with 12 seconds over West and 15 on Rees, followed further away by Mac, Alvarez, Venturini, Kogay, Onslow-Cole, Liang and Ramos. Attention though is all for the furious battle between four Huracans (Ling, Liang, Agostini and Di Folco) for 9th. The Mercedes of Hellmeister and Jäger are also involved in a nice family battle for P12.

In the top positions, Saravia has a comfortable margin (18”) over Rees now 2nd, with Mac 3rd and West 4th, chased by Alvarez. In lap 27, with less than 15 minutes of race left, the rain starts to fall, while Venturini stops on track with a fuel pressure issue. By then, the rain has become stronger, prompting the intervention of the safety-car until the end of the race.

Source. International GT Open

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