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Double victory for Ayari and Marroc in International GT Open

Saturday, July 23 2011

Soheil Ayari and Nicolas Marroc repeated their earlier victory in the second International GT Open race at Brands Hatch today. The JMB Racing Ferrari 458 GT Italia finished 33 seconds ahead of the number 1 Ferrari of Alessandro Garofano and Luca Rangoni after Andrea Montermini and Emmanele Moncini were penalised, losing the runner up slot. They finished fourth, behind GTS class winners Lorenzo Bontempelli and Stefano Gattuso

The Ayari/Marroc and Montermini/Moncini Ferrari 458s held station from the rolling start, whilst behind Garofano/Rangoni there was a fierce GTS class battle between the cars of Bontempelli/Gattuso, Di Marco/Puglisi, Bamford/Mortimer, Jelley/Ashburn, Roda/Babini and Brown/Geddie.

The early laps became a psychological battle between the leading pair as they circulated within metres of each other, whilst the Garofano/Rangoni 430 kept a watching brief. Marroc's pace suddenly dropped and he was under massive pressure as the 430 took the opportunity to take second at Surtees. The leader then found enough speed to stay ahead of what had now become a quartet, as the Bontempelli/Gattuso cleared the rest of GTS.

Approaching the halfway stage and the driver changes, the leaders split into two battles as whilst the pacesetter was under pressure, so was the third-placed car from the GTS class frontrunner, so Moncini took the opportunity to pit, with Montermini rejoining in 13th. The leader was next in, Ayari taking over from Marroc. Meanwhile the number 1 Ferrari now up front was being held up with traffic, and although their laps were initially only a couple of tenths off the pace, Ayari then circulated a second quicker, forcing their hand.

A super-quick pitstop, however handed Garofano a handy lead of five seconds over Ayari, the pair now some way clear of Montermini. Meanwhile the unfortunate Philipp Peter suffered another puncture - the first of two in this race.

Ayari immediately wiped out the gap, such was his pace. On the run to Clearways, Ayari popped out alongside Garofano as they came out from under the bridge and taking the inside line, was into the lead. Garofano didn't lose too much time to the new leader but Montermini was closing a couple of seconds a lap as the race entered its final ten minutes.

However Montermini's team manager was then summoned to race control as his driver continued to close the gap. Garofano then made another trip into the gravel at Paddock Hill, this time continuing, but losing a place to Montermini. Unfortunately for the man now in second place, a 20 second penalty was given for a pitstop infringement and all he could do was lap as fast as possible.

With Montermini now likely to finish fourth or fifth, second place was under serious threat by Bontempelli/Gattuso in the GTS class, with just a couple of minutes remaining. Tensions were high on the pitwall, as with just a lap remaining the pair were together on the track. Garofano just held on for second, with Montermini taking fourth place once the penaty was applied.

International GT Open Race two

1. Ayari/Marroc, JMB Racing, Ferrari 458 GT Italia, SGT, 34 Laps
2. Garofano/Rangoni, AF Corse, Ferrari 430 GT2, SGT, +33.031s
3. Bontempelli/Gattuso, Kessel Racing, Ferrari 458 GT3, GTS, +33.491s
4. Montermini/Moncini, Scuderia Villorba Corse, Ferrari 458 GT Italia, SGT, +38.537s
5. Roda/Babini, Autorlando Sport, Porsche 997 GT3 R, GTS, +38.763s
6. Di Marco/Puglisi, Sport & You, Mercedes SLS AMG GT3, GTS, +39.581s
7. Bizzarri/Cadei, AF Corse, Ferrari 458 GT3, GTS, +39.975s
8. Ramos/Giammaria, Racing Team Edil-Cris, Ferrari 458 GT Italia, SGT, +40.100s
9. Talkanitsa/Talkanitsa Jr, AT Racing Team, Ferrari 458 GT Italia, SGT, +43.226s
10. Ceccato/Barba, Autorlando Sport, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, SGT, +43.433s

Tickets for the FIA Formula Two Championship and International GT Open at Brands Hatch are available o