Solaris Motorsport’s Vantage improved its performance session after session, having to discover all the secrets of the 4.655 km Barcelona track and the behaviour of the Michelin tyres used in the International GT Open. Since Thursday’s test session, the Solaris Motorsport Vantage GT3 showed a good potential and the team worked a lot, even in the Friday’s free practices, on the research of the best setup.
The first qualifying session saw Jody Fannin bringing home a good P7, but race control moved him down to P11. In such a high competitive championship, with a lot of cars with similar performances, the Solaris Motorsport Aston Martin finished tenth, posting good lap times but it was slowed in the middle of the race by the BMWs, which were slower on an entire lap but faster on the straights, thus making impossible any overtake attempt.
The second qualifying session, held on Sunday morning, nearly gave an incredible first row to Solaris Motorsport, thanks to a Francesco Sini in the top part of the charts all session long. Sini posted the best chrono both on wet and damp track and he was repeating himself on a dry track with slick tyres, but a slow car ruined his best lap when all the opponents were improving. So in the end Ringhio was just eighth, with a little bit of regret for the great opportunity lost.
At the start of Race 2, Sini took advantage of an eventful first lap to move up to fifth, gaining third position during the race. When the podium seemed locked, “Ringhio” was sent off on the grass by a lapped car which hit him in Turn 1. The solidity of the Vantage GT3 allowed the Italian driver to rejoin the track and begin a huge comeback before leaving the wheel to his team mate at the mandatory pit stop. When Fannin took the track, he set a very quick race pace and gained some positions overtaking the opponents on track and bringing back the Aston Martin in third place. The safety car that went on track in the last part of the race allowed to the English driver to close the gap from the front and begin a spectacular battle for the win in the last few laps. Sini and Fannin, third under the checkered flag, brought home the best result of the weekend for Aston Martin. This is the fourth podium of the season for the Solaris Motorsport, the first one in the International GT Open.
“I’m very happy about this podium, we had to fight until the end to take it! The contact in the middle of the race was very hard, I was quite sure I had to retire but this Vantage is very strong! Jody was incredible, very quick and smart. It’s a pleasure to race with him,” said Francesco Sini. “We proved we can be competitive in international events and this is the most important thing. We improved our performance session after session, taking the podium at the end.”
“The car was much improved for Sunday’s race and it showed straight away with a strong stint from Francesco. He was unlucky to have contact with a back marker, so when I got in the car I did my best to regain the places and made it up to P3,” commented Jody Fannin “It was very difficult to get close enough to the second placed BMW to try to pass it, so I decided to bring the car home in third. I’d like to thank all the Solaris Motorsport guys for their hard work over the weekend!”
“With such highly competitive opponents, we are very happy we confirmed our strength and we were the best Aston Martin on track. It’s the right prize for the hard work we did this year. Jody was an incredible discovery, a very young driver but already quick and smart,” said Roberto Sini, Solaris Motorsport Team Principal. “Now we have to start thinking about the 2017 season, we want to enjoy the fruits of the work done this year. But before we will to celebrate this season with all our supporters at Pescara Racing Show, scheduled on November 18-19-20th.”
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