Barcelona and the Montmelò circuit hold important significance in Kessel Racing's competitive history. It was in 2009, in Barcelona, that a series of successes began in the GT Open, which lasted for four seasons, launching an era of successes in endurance granturismo racing, that continues to date. To the Kessel Racing Team’s honours, today we added Stephen Earle in the Iron Class of the GT Sports Club, David Perel in the combined driver standings for the GT Sprint and Endurance and Duyver-Perel-Zanuttini, as well as the entire Kessel Racing Team, in the Blancpain Endurance Series team rankings.
But let's take it in order, starting with the GT Sports Club first on the track in Barcelona's weekend racing. In Saturday's qualifying race, among the IRON class drivers, Stephen Earle came in second place in the Ferrari 458 GT3. A good performance too by Peter Goerke in the other Kessel Racing 458 GT3: the Swiss driver was ranked fifteenth overall. For the IRON title, everything was decided on Sunday's race and a one point lead for Earle among the remaining contenders was the situation going into the last battle of the season. A battle, however, that wasn’t fought due to rain, which had been falling heavily on the Catalan track since early in the morning. With flooding on numerous stretches and various cars doing one-eighties even under the safety-car, the race director soon ended the race, thus awarding the title to Earle.
In the afternoon, it was the final and decisive race of the Blancpain Endurance Series in which Kessel Racing contended for the title in the AM category, both in the driver and team standings. The race, which was contested by almost fifty GT3 cars, saw third place for Kessel Racing's crew Duyver-Perel-Zanuttini, who deservedly won the AM title, repeating the success of the 2016, as well as success in the teams. Solid race by the Bronisewki-Piccini pair, who finished fifth-place in the PRO-AMs.
Now that the Blancpain Endurance Series and the GT Sports Club seasons are closed with the satisfaction of success, the focus is on the sixth round of the Ferrari Challenge Europa next weekend at Imola, on the Circuit dedicated to Enzo and Dino Ferrari.
Ronnie Kessel (Team Owner): Barcelona is certainly a special track for us. Today we celebrate important titles: Stephen Earle's in the GT Sport Club has a particular flavour because the “Doctor” has been with us for so many years and is still as motivated and combative as when he joined my father’s team. In the Blancpain Endurance Series, we repeated the success of last year in the AM class, for both the driver and the team titles. Fantastic! I am delighted for Jacques, David and Marco who have crowned a wonderful year and let’s not forget the contribution by Niki Cadei in the key victory in the Spa 24 Hours. Bronisenewski and Piccini were always competitive, even though they did not have a very easy season. Tonight, we are celebrating our drivers, but from tomorrow hearts and minds for the Ferrari Challenge Europa, which awaits us in a few days in Imola. "