With co-driver Marco Mapelli, Archie finished on the GTS podium in both races in the opening round of the International GT Open event at the Portuguese track of Portimao. In the first race yesterday, the Autorlando pairing finished second in class and eighth overall, while in today’s race they won their class and finished an impressive third overall.
Archie qualified the Porsche 997 GT3 R third for race one, 18th overall, after putting in his best lap driving on brand new tyres for the first time. In Marco’s session he claimed second in GTS and eighth on the complete grid.
Saturday’s race one started wet, under the safety car, and Archie was in the car for the first stint. Archie managed to gain overall positions before pitting to hand over to Marco. With a drying track, Marco needed to re-pit to change tyres under the regulations, which dropped the pair down the order, but with slicks on a drying track the Italian was able to make his way through the pack, including an impressive overtaking manoeuvre on class rival Stelle in a Kessel Racing Ferrari, and by the end of the seventy minutes and 35 laps, he crossed the line second in GTS.
Today’s 27 lap/50 minute race started wet but the Autorlando team gambled and chose slicks. Marco had the tough job of starting the race and getting as much grip as he could from the drying racing line. Leading up to the end of his stint, Marco managed to pass class leader Kox in a Goodsense Racing Team Lamborghini for the lead. Pitting for the driver change, including a 10 second ‘success’ penalty for yesterday’s second place, cost the lead and Archie emerged from the pits in second place. Within two laps Archie passed the Kox/Pronk car for the class lead and third overall, and maintained those positions to the chequered flag.
Archie now shares the lead of the International GT Open GTS with his teammate and the Cadei/Bizzarri pairing, all having 18 points.
“I have to say a huge thank you to the team and Marco. It’s been a dream start the season. The car feels very good – very stable – and it was great to be able to race with the Super GT cars with the conditions. To be on the podium is great – to win the class is fantastic and to be on the overall podium was the icing on the cake. I just want to do it again now! Before Nurburgring I need to switch my focus to Laguna Seca and racing a prototype but I’m already looking forward to getting back in the Porsche.”
Archie next races at Laguna Seca, Monterey, California in the American Le Mans Series on Saturday 12th May. His next round of the International GT Open takes place at the Nurburgring circuit, Germany on 26th/27th May.