Rain stops play for Team Virage in GT Cup Open debut

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Valencia based Team Virage were left somewhat frustrated after their penultimate round debut into the GT Open Cup European Championship at their 'local' Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona at the weekend as technical issues ended up blighting a very respectable start in some very trying track conditions.

Hoping to emulate the successes of Optimum Motorsport at the last round at Silverstone, the Spanish based team entered one of their Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4's in to the Barcelona race weekend for tin top convertees Fernando Navarrete and Alvaro Lobera.

Entered into the Pro-Am class, the duo made steady progress within the car during the warm, dry track sessions of Free  Practice 1 and 2 before torrential rain washed out any chance of anyone actually submitting a Qualifying time for Race 1 on Saturday morning.

Starting from their combined Free Practice time positions, the fifteen cars had only just left the grid on the formation lap when the heavens opened once again, dropping significant volumes of water onto the track where all cars has started on slicks. Fortunately, Race Control had the foresight to employ the pace car as a Safety Car start that allowed all to pit for wets.

Despite having started P13, the #95 AMR with Lobera taking the start had moved up to P8 courtesy of a quicker stop and despite the Safety Car being on track. By the time track conditions were safe enough to let then go back to green there were only a few minutes left before the pit window opened.

As the track slowly began to form a drier line towards the end of race one, Navarrete was having 'issues' in the car that dropped him back down to P9 overall but still P4 in class by the end of the 55 minute race.

Electrical issues aboard the car were later confirmed (possibly as a result of the wet race) but sadly for the team these issues were not fixable in time to compete in race 2 on Sunday. That put a disappointing end to a potentially encouraging race for this pair and the team on Sunday.

Photo credits - GT Cup Open
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