International GT Open – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary
Race One: Qualified 6th GTS/ 14th Overall Finished 2nd GTS/ 10th Overall
Race Two: Qualified 3rd GTS/ 9th Overall Finished 7th GTS/ 16th Overall
Archie Hamilton showed he had put the summer break to good use with a surge in pace that resulted in another podium for the 21 year old from Basingstoke. With his team-mate Marco Mapelli, Archie claimed another valuable eight points for a second place to keep the championship title within grasp.
Despite having never raced at the Hungaroring track before, Archie was not only straight on the pace but faster than his team-mate for the first time. His form helped negate a mechanical issue in qualifying when his Porsche 997 GT3 R lost second gear and he managed to take sixth in class.
Race one started well for Archie who drove consistently through his stint in the 70 minute race. The penalty advantage was slightly in the Autorlando duo’s favour with only 15 additional seconds in the pits and Marco was able to take full advantage and get out ahead of key rivals. After seven laps he was closing on key rival Dalle-Stelle and with five laps remaining he managed to pass to take second place. Fortune then handed the pair another championship gain with contact between Dalle-Stelle and a back-leading to his retirement. Archie and Marco drove the whole race without power steering, which had failed, further showing the pair’s skill and fitness.
With just five races remaining, the series success penalty was becoming critical and the price of the race one success was a 25 second penalty which was too much to overcome in a closely fought second race. Marco took the car from third to the class lead from the start and held the lead to the lap before the pit stop when he was sent off-track through the gravel by an ambitious overtaking manoeuvre from Stefano Gattuso’s Ferrari. After Archie took the wheel and rejoined after the excruciating 25 second penalty he was seventh in GTS. Despite his pace he was unable to make up the necessary ground and crossed the line without points but knowing that it will be their turn to have a shorter pit-stop at Monza while his championship rivals contend with the longer penalties.
“This has been a great weekend for me. I’ve trained hard in the break, both mentally and physically, and it’s shown. My pace was really good and for the first time I’ve been at least a match for Marco which makes us even stronger contenders for the title. I’m looking at the championship now and had to let the races come to me. Race one was fantastic and it was important to get those points in the bag while we were relatively low on penalty but race two was always going to be a case of damage limitation. The last races are going to be critical and I’m going to be back in three weeks as strong as I can possibly be.”
1. Zampieri/Dalle Stelle 66, 2. Bizzarri 50, 3. Hamilton/Mapelli 58, 4. Rizzoli 40, 5. Puglisis/Beretta 28, 6. Bontempelli 25.
Archie next races at Monza, Italy on 30th September.