Every run of bad luck must come to an end, and for Belgian duo Anthony Kumpen and Bert Longin it happened in Argentina, when their Saleen S7R finally showed what it could do, crossing the finish line just 0.5 seconds ahead of the Phoenix Carsport Corvette of their former teammate Mike Hezemans and 2004 Champion Fabrizio Gollin. A good day for Belgium was competed by the presence of SRT in third place, their Corvette C6R having been shared by Maxime Soulet and Argentine newcomer Christian Ledesma, who had already finished on the podium in the TC2000 race earlier in the day.
The San Luis circuit is built right into the mountains
“It was a terrible season but to finish the last race in first place is very important for us two, as this is important for next year. The car and tires worked very well, and for the first time we were really competitive, and neither Anthony nor myself made any mistakes,” Bert Longin commented.
Hezemans was philosophical about his Championship loss: “With 90 kg in the car it was always going to be difficult. We were in the lead but I made a little mistake coming into the first corner.” Having started from the back of the grid, SRT’s third place was a fine reward for the Belgian team. Fourth went to local heroes José Maria Lopez and Esteban Tuero in the ACA Argentina Ferrari 550 Maranello, with the new Champions Bertolini and Bartels fifth. Fâssler and Risatti were classified sixth and last, in a high attrition rate around this magnificent circuit.
With a duo of Argentine racers claiming their first-ever FIA GT victory on home ground at a brand new San Luis, Argentine circuit, there could hardly have been a more popular result in San Luis today.
Advanced Engineering Pecom Racing Team’s Matias Russo, who had claimed pole on Saturday, kept the advantage at the lights and began to build up a good lead. During the middle stint, his team-mate Luis Perez-Companc was overtaken by the new GT2 Champion Toni Vilander, whose nr 50 AF Corse Ferrari had climbed back up from the very back of the grid, despite the 75 kg penalty weight. In the closing stages, however, Russo was able to retake the lead.
Bruni and Vilander took second, with the second AF Corse car of Montanari and Biagi third after a late-race collision between the nr 56 and nr 60 cars, which had been fighting for the final podium position.
“This is our first year in the category, and we learned little by little, making progress all the time,” Russo said afterwards. “I don’t think we have fully realized that we’ve won today yet. But I am very pleased with this incredible result.”
The nr 56 CR Scuderia Ferrari and the nr 60 Prospeed Porsche finished fourth and fifth respectively; the nr 61 Prospeed car, which had qualified second, was an early casualty of the Potrero de los Funes walls. Malucelli and Ruberti finished sixth to secure second place in the GT2 Drivers Championship, and to help their team BMS Scuderia Italia to finish second in the Teams Championship, ahead of Prospeed Competition. Seventh went to Scuderia Ecosse, with Kessel Racing taking the final point in eighth.
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