At the race weekend of the International GT Open at the Circuit Paul Ricard, the SPS automotive performance team again achieved top results. Dexter Müller and Yannick Mettler (both SUI) claimed another podium finish with the #54 Mercedes-AMG GT3 under the CBRX by SPS entry, finishing second in the PROAM class. Recce Barr (IRL) and Mikaeel Pitamber (RSA) claimed their best result of the season so far with fourth overall.
In the first race, the #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Reece Barr at the wheel started the 70-minute first race from third overall. As the Circuit Paul Ricard is known for incidents in the starting phase, Barr avoided all duels in the first corners, but lost a few positions overall as a result. Already after the first lap, the race was neutralised by a longer safety car period after an incident at the back of the field. After the restart, Reece Barr continued to fight for positions in the leading group. After Mikaeel Pitamber had taken over the silver Mercedes-AMG GT3 from Barr, the young South African was also involved in intense fights for positions until the end of the race. At the end of the race, Pitamber was flagged off in sixth position overall, equivalent to fifth place in the PRO category. From seventh place in the PROAM class, Dexter Müller in the #54 Mercedes-AMG GT3 took the start in the first race. The Swiss also stayed out of all the turbulence in the early stages, but lost a few positions to his competitors as a result. After the safety car period ended, Müller regained a few positions with a strong stint before handing over to his teammate Yannick Mettler at the mandatory pit stop. Yannick Mettler also wanted to continue the drive to the front, but was involved in intense duels in his turn and initially could not find a way past the cars in front of him. It was only in the final phase that Mettler gained fifth position in the PROAM category, which he also defended until the finish.
Yannick Mettler in the #54 started the second race on Sunday from third overall position. In another turbulent start phase, Mettler initially had to let some competitors go, but in an intense first half of the race he always stayed within striking distance of the PROAM leading group. Towards the end of his stint, Mettler moved back up to third position before Dexter Müller took over the number 54 car. After the pit stop window closed, Müller was in second position. With consistent and fast lap times, Müller consolidated second place until the finish, securing another podium finish for the team in the PROAM category. With this result, the Swiss duo captured second position in the PROAM championship. For the sister car #20, the starting position was not ideal at first. Mikaeel Pitamber started the 60-minute race from 15th on the grid. Pitamber was already in the top ten in the first half of the race before his team-mate Reece Barr continued the chase with a brilliant stint after the pit stop. With a fantastic move, the young Irishman took fourth position and reduced the gap to the podium places to less than one second in the final phase. However, the race time was no longer sufficient to launch a final attack on the third-placed rider. This fourth position was the best result of Reece Barr and Mikaeel Pitamber in the current season of the International GT Open.
After the summer break, the SPS automotive performance team will travel to Austria. Races eight and nine of the International GT Open will be held at the Red Bull Ring from 8-10 September.
Mikaeel Pitamber, #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3: “It was a great weekend for us. The whole team and Reece did a top job and the car also worked great. We’re very happy with the result and looking forward to the next races as well.”
Reece Barr, #20 Mercedes-AMG GT3: “It went very well for us today. We had a very good pit stop. After that I pushed hard and moved up to P4 – our best result so far. We were close to the podium and were able to match the times of the front runners. The team did a good job and prepared the car very well. Now we want to use the momentum in the next races.”
Yannick Mettler, #54 Mercedes-AMG GT3: “We are very happy with the result today. Dexter did a mega job in the second half of the race. The start wasn’t perfect today, but the team had a good strategy, which worked out in the end. Thanks to everyone, a strong performance!”