The first race of the fourth event of the 2019 GT4 South European Series season took place today at Autódromo International do Algarve. Victory went to Veloso Motorsport’s Miguel Cristóvão and Francisco Abreu who converted a front row start into theirs and Mercedes-AMG’s fourth win of the campaign.
Mariano Pires, who started from pole-position with ABM Grand Prix’s Ginetta G55 GT4, lost the first position to two Mercedes-AMG as the light went green. Starting from second, Miguel Cristóvão took the led, and swiftly opened a solid gap to the peloton.
In turn, Pires started pressuring Stephen Pattrick for second, managing to overtake his opponent in lap 2 at turn 4. After the manoeuvre, the Portuguese youngster focused his attention to close the gap to the race leader.
Following the compulsory drivers’ change, Francisco Abreu kept the Veloso Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4 led. The Madeira-born driver did a flawless stint, keeping his rivals at bay. The Portuguese pair managed to score their fourth Pro-Am class win of the season.
The incertitude was definitely higher for the second place. César Machado inherited the “Green Bullet” from Pires in second, but he was forced to serve a drive-through penalty for his teammate speeding in the pitlane.
As so, Pattrick’s teammate Andy Meyrick was promoted to second, and soon Machado was at mercy of Callum Mcleod’s Mercedes-AMG GT4, who had served a drive-through penalty during the first stint of Ian Loggie for allegedly not respecting the track limits. Machado tried everything to defend his position, but ultimately was overtaken by the Bullitt Motorsport driver. On their first appearance in the series, McLeod and Loggie saw the checkered flag in third, one place being #33 Bullitt Racing pair of Meyrick and Patrick.
In the Am Cup, starting from third in the grid, Freddie Hunt had a strong stint with the British driver being able to follow close the front-runners. However, he also had a drive-through penalty caused by excessive track limits abuse, dropping two places in the classification. In the end, CO Jones crossed the finish line in sixth overall, first in the class.
Sarah Moore and Moh Ritson impressed on their championship debut but had to settle for second with the second Tockwith Motorsport Ginetta G50 GT4. Series returnee Plemar Sport Ginetta G50 GT4 completed the podium. Spanish pair of Juan Reina Martín and Alberto Valverde beat the British youngsters Jemma Moore and Callum Bradshaw to the last place in the podium.
Dave Benett and Michael Fothergill had a good race, finishing ninth overall, after a good battle with Moore/Bradshaw’s Ginetta de Moore/Bradshaw.
Tomorrow’s race two will take place at 5.10pm (local time GMT). The 50-min race will be broadcast live on GT4 South European Series’ social media channels.
Miguel Cristóvão (1st Pro-Am Cup): “I made a perfect start as I managed to pass the pole-sitter on the main straight due to Pires didn’t get a good getaway. I focused on pushing a lot because I knew the second part of the race would be very tough and my goal was to build up a big enough of a gap. I’m very happy also posting the fastest lap of the race. Our Mercedes performed pretty well here facing strong competitors but we still managed to put our car on top.”
Freddie Hunt (1st Am Cup): "The race was running well. In fact, I was running steady P3, slowing catching P2 but then I made some mistakes and I exited the track limits and I got a penalty for. We need to work a bit on the car as it was not performing quite as we liked it. Overall I am very satisfied."
Marmaduke Hall (1st GTC): “Basically we are happy to complete a safe race today as it means more points for the championship. I would like to have had a closer battle with other GT4 cars up the front but our pace is good and we are trying to take the most out of the track. Overall, it was another strong day and we are looking forward to continue our winning streak tomorrow.”