Henrique Chaves ended the first race of the Red Bull Ring round of the International GT Open in the third place, showing a strong pace that allowed him to sign the fastest lap.
The Portuguese teammate, Martin Kodric, was really fast in the qualifying session, and signed the second fastest time, just 0,035s from the pole time, something that opened good opportunities for the afternoon race.
However, the Croatian driver wasn’t lucky in the start and was fifth after the first corner. In the ninth lap he gained a position, to fourth, and stopped to hand over the Teo Martín Motorsport’s McLaren 720S GT3 to Henrique Chaves in that place.
When the driver change window ended, the Portuguese driver was in fourth on the tail of another Teo Martín Motorsport’s McLaren, showing a much stronger pace.
In the twenty-eighth lap, Henrique Chaves climbed a position, to third, and start to recover to the second placed car. Lap after lap, he reduced is disadvantage, signing the fastest lap in the way. With two laps to the flag he was pressuring his opponent.
The Portuguese driver tried everything to pass to second, but his opponent, with a stronger top speed, defended well. Henrique Chaves would cross the finish line 0,299s from the second place.
After the race the Teo Martín Motorsport’s youngster was pleased with the result and performance, but felt that in other circumstances, it would be possible to achieve the second place. “The car is really good, fast and consistent, which allow us to give our best. Martin wasn’t lucky in the start, he suffered a contact that sent him to fifth. We recovered, I could show a very strong pace, and I believe that, if we had arrived to third sooner, we could have got the second place. However, it was a good result, another podium, that will be very important to the standings”, said the Portuguese.
Sunday, Henrique Chaves will qualify the number 59 McLaren 720S and will be responsible for the first stint. He is decided to maximise his cars potential, even with some obstacles that he will have to overcome. “The McLaren is very competitive and we have to take advantage of its performances. We will give our best in the qualifying to get a good grid position so we can attack from the start to the end of the race, as we have a twenty seconds handicap. It won’t be easy, as our opponents are very strong, but we will fight to have another good result and to score some more points for the championship”, commented the Portuguese.
The second race of the Red Bull Ring round will start at 13h15, GMT+1, and can be followed live at the series website.