Ramos-Chaves (TMM McLaren) declared Champions in dramatic finale

01.11.2020  GTO

It was a final race with intense and mixed emotions until the end. Eventually, Miguel Ramos and Henrique Chaves were declared the 2020 Champions of the International GT Open, following a thrilling and dramatic finale that saw the two top contenders, Miguel Ramos, leading the race in the penultimate lap, and Vincent Abril (AF Corse APM Monaco Ferrari) collide, with the Portuguese ending his race stuck in the gravel.

The sanction imposed by the Stewards to the Ferrari (10 positions in the race result) gave the title to the Portuguese pair, although everything is to be considered provisional, considering the appeals of AF Corse (and of TMM after Race1).

Victory in Race 2 was for the TF Sport Aston Martin of Salih Yoluc and Charlie Eastwood, ahead of Fabrizio Crestani-Yannick Mettler (Team Lazarus Bentley) and Christian Klien-Patrik Krupinski (JP Motorsport). The success in Pro—Am for the Austrian-Polish pair was not enough to revert the title battle in the class, with Marcelo Hahn securing the honours after finishing fifth, together with Allam Khodair, in the other TMM McLaren. That meant a third title this season for Teo Martín Motorsport. 

Mauro Ricci-Jérôme Policand (AKKA Mercedes) doubled their success in Am of yesterday.

THE RACE – Prette takes a good start from the pole, pressed immediately by Chaves, but goes wide at first corner being passed by the Portuguese. Khodair and Osborne follow, having passed Barr, who had a poor start from first row, then Yoluc, Crestani, Krupinski and Iribe.

While Negro spins in lap 4 and Rostan gets a drive-through, the gap between Chaves and Prette will grow marginally, reaching 5.7 seconds by lap 14, when both stop for the driver change and handicap serving. They rejoin separated by 17 seconds. Eastwood in the meantime passes Mettler after a long duel.

When all driver changes are made (lap 21), Ramos leads Abril by 11 seconds (which in reality are 13, after the 2-second sanction received for not serving the entire handicap), followed by Moller, Hahn, Eastwood, Mettler, Klien, Moss and Millroy. All the attention is on the final charge by Abril, who benefits from the help of sister car, as Ortelli resists being lapped. The emotion is also high in Pro-Am, with Hahn spinning after a contact with Cerqueda, losing two class positions.

Three laps from the end, Abril attempts a move on Ramos but runs wide, and in the penultimate lap he tries again, on the inside, with Ramos defending his position. The contact is inevitable and the McLaren ends its race in the gravel.  The safety-car is out, which hands the race success to the TF Sport Aston Martin, while everybody is under the contrasted emotions of the dramatic finale.

After investigating the incident, the Stewards decide to impose a 10-position sanction to Abril, which gives the title to Ramos-Chaves. AF Corse has appealed the decision.