PRESS RELEASE: 24th October 2021
International GT Open, Round 7
Barcelona hosted the final races of the 2021 International GT Open Championship this weekend. VSR headed into the weekend with a commanding Championship lead in the hands of the drivers of car 63, Michele Beretta and Frederik Schandorff. Baptiste Moulin and Yuki Nemoto in the 19 car were lying fourth just behind the Porsche drivers of Al Zubair and Soucek.
Schandorff and Nemoto qualified the cars for Saturday’s seventy-minute race and the Dane’s quickest lap was good enough for a spot on the front row alongside poleman and new entry Pla. Nemoto qualified fourth, crucially three places ahead of Al Zubair. A clean start saw Nemoto get the better of Kodric to slot in to third position behind Schandorff whilst Al Zubair slipped down to the bottom of the top ten. As the race progressed he began picking up placed but out front it was Lamborghini v Mercedes with Schandorff right behind Pla and Nemoto fighting to hold of Kodric. On lap eight Nemoto could hold on to third no longer and then three laps later the Safety Car came out while Bozzoni’s Porsche was recovered from the gravel. The track went green again just before the pit window opened. Schandorff waited a lap before pitting and handing over to Beretta who, with a fifteen second success penalty, fell back down the order. Nemoto stayed out for a further five laps before coming in for Moulin to take over the 19 car. The VSR cars were lying third and fourth but Beretta had a group of four cars scrapping behind him and wisely, with an eye on the Championship, let them pass. Moulin held on to third during his stint and the race finished behind the Safety Car after two GT Cup cars tangled with five minutes left on the clock. Sixth place was enough to put Beretta and Schandorff out of reach in the title standings and a podium finish for Moulin and Nemoto left them fourth, just one point behind Al Zubair.
A tricky qualifying session on Sunday morning saw both the VSR cars start from the back of the GT3 grid – Beretta in fifteenth and Moulin in nineteenth. A great start saw them tenth and eleventh by the end of the first lap and technical problems for Spinelli on lap five put them up one spot more. There were no further overtakes in the field until the pit window opened on lap fourteen and the driver changes mixed the order up. Moulin stopped immediately for Nemoto and Beretta followed him in so Schandorff could take over the Championship winning car. As Schandorff had a five second success penalty the two cars were inverted with Nemoto running ahead until he was tagged into a spin by Dinan’s Aston Martin as he and Pla overtook it. The contact resulted in a penalty for Dinan and left Nemoto down in eighth place. He was soon back in seventh after passing Basz as ahead Schandorff took fourth from Iribe and closed in on Pla. Three laps later Nemoto caught and passed Dinan once again and then overtook Iribe for fourth. A penalty for Pla, for his part in the contact with Nemoto, allowed Schandorff to close the season with another podium finish for himself and Beretta.
Beretta and Schandorff finished the season with an eighteen point lead in the Championship whilst Moulin and Nemoto finished fourth overall, just five points behind Al Zubair. Their accumulated points allowed VSR to take home the Team title as well.