International GT Open – Barcelona, Spain
Race One: Qualified 7th GTS/ 18th Overall Finished Not classified
Race Two: Qualified 5th GTS/ 17th Overall Finished 3rd Spanish GT/13th GTS/ 23rd Overall
Archie Hamilton, the 21 year old from Basingstoke has claimed third place in the 2012 international GT Open Championship despite a tough weekend in Barcelona. With co-driver Marco Mapelli, Archie had started the weekend at the Spanish Circuit de Catalunya with a slim chance of taking the title but an incident on the opening lap of the first race ended the duos’ hopes. The event this weekend combined the Spanish GT Championship with the International GT Open giving an enormous grid of 39 cars. Consolation was taken with a third place in the Spanish GT in which Archie and Marco were also entered.
Archie qualified seventh in GTS for Saturday’s race which was short-lived for the Autorlando Sport pair when Archie’s Porsche 997 GT3 R was hit from behind on the opening lap sending him off the track and unable to continue. The misfortunes continued today (Sunday) when Marco, having qualified fifth, made a stop on lap two to change from wet to slick tyres after a gamble on the weather hadn’t paid off. On exiting the pit lane, he crossed the white line dividing the pit exit and the track attracting a drive through penalty. Archie took the wheel after the compulsory pit-stop and despite the two extra pit visits managed to climb back to 13th.
Archie and Marco have taken third in the Championship despite more than their fair share of misfortunes, including an exclusion for a non-performance enhancing technical infringement and two races affected by punctures. The highlights more than outweigh the mishaps with three wins and six podium finishes throughout the eight events. Key to the third place was the consistency that the pair achieved with 12 top-six finishes from the 16 races which meant that they were never out of the top three in the title chase.
“I’m really happy to have taken third in the championship and it’s nice to end with a podium. This weekend has been tough and it would have been great to have a better end to the year but for my first full sportscar season I think I’ve had some great results and shown my potential. To have had so many top-sixes, podiums and wins has been fantastic and I have to say a huge thank you to Autorlando who have been fantastic. Marco has been a great partner and I think we made a good team. I also want to thank my supporters who have made it possible, especially Duncan Hamilton Ltd and Delaney. We have some exciting plans underway for next season which we will announce as soon as they are confirmed.”
1. Zampieri/Dalle Stelle 88
2. Stefano Bizzarri 85
3. Hamilton/Mapelli 70
4. Rizzoli 67
5. Puglisi/Beretta 43
6. Hummel 27