Archie, with team-mate Marco Mapelli, was just half a lap from a podium finish in today’s second race in the International GT Open event at the Belgian Spa-Francorchamps circuit. After lying in third place an incident cost two positions and the race ended with Archie crossing the line in fifth. The weekend’s points haul from both races leaves the duo in sight of the championship lead in third place.
After a struggle to find the right set-up for Autorlando Porsche 997 GT3 R car, and traffic issues in qualifying, Archie and Marco qualified in fifth and seventh places for the two races.
Saturday’s 70 minute race one, was held in the dry, with Archie starting from fifth place. Having gained a place on the opening lap to fourth, Archie was tagged on lap two and dropped to eleventh place. By the mid-point when Archie pitted for the driver-change, Archie had climbed back up to seventh and Marco managed to regain another two position to finish the race fifth in GTS.
In the 50 minute race two, held in torrential rain, Marco started from seventh place and pitted from sixth. After the stops, Archie was fourth and seventh overall, with the GTS cars performing well in the wet. As his stint progressed, Archie was gradually gaining on the next GTS rival, steadily closing the gap. On lap 15 of the 18 laps race, Archie managed to pass Cordoni’s Ombra Racing Ferrari to take third place. A four-way battle ensued for the final podium place and with just half a lap to go, with Archie still in third, Ardagna in the AF Corse Ferrari made a move round the outside into a corner, leaving Archie nowhere to go. The resulting contact dropped Archie two places and he crossed the line in fifth place.
Archie and Marco are now third in International GT Open GTS with 27 points.
“To have had issues throughout the weekend and then be in third with one lap to go and come away without a trophy is disappointing – but that’s racing. We know that we have the pace and the car but it didn’t come together here. We’re heading to Brands hatch next so hopefully my home track will give us an advantage.”
1. Bizzarri 38, 2. Zampiere/Dalle Stelle 32, 3. Hamilton/Mapelli 27, 4. Christodoulou/Hummel 24, 5. Rizzoli 20, 6. Seyffarth/Heyer 20.
Archie next races at Brands Hatch, UK on 14th /15th July.