First championship points for Alex Fontana in his GT Open 2024 debut at Portimao

Alex Fontana has completed his first weekend in the International GT Open at Portimao. ­The Swiss driver took part in the inaugural weekend of the series with Car Collection Motorsport, sharing the German team’s Porsche 992 GT3 R entered in the Pro-Am category with Hash. 

The Portuguese weekend began well with Fontana, who in a complicated qualifying session marked by rain and a track in continuous evolution, recorded the fourth fastest time and the second in the Pro-Am class. The Swiss driver therefore started from the second row in Race-1 on the Saturday, managing to make his way into 3rd place overall. Alex then defended himself well from the attacks of his rivals during his stint, maintaining his grip on 3rd place through to the opening of the window for the obligatory pit-stop. At the end of an excellent opening part of the race, the car was handed over to Hash; the American driver, competing in his first high level international race following his debut in GT3 last year with Car Collection Motorsport, therefore found himself racing against crews from the Pro category as he attempted to defend his position on the Pro-Am podium. Following an excellent first few laps at the wheel of the Porsche 992 GT3 R, Hash was hit by another car just five minutes from the end. He ended up spinning and the team had to forgo any dreams of glory. The Porsche 992 GT3 R #12 did manage to restart, finishing the first heat of the weekend in 15th place among the Pro-Am cars, in a starting field of no less than 34. 

On the Sunday, the roles were inverted, with Hash behind the wheel for qualifying in which he finished 18th in class. The American drove a consistent first stint in Race-2, maintaining a constant rhythm and handing the car over to Fontana during the obligatory pit-stop. Alex then showed all his class with an excellent race pace that allowed him to make up ground; after a brief neutralization of the race 18 minutes from the end, he took advantage of the restart confusion to recover further positions and enter the Pro-Am class top-10. However, the Swiss driver’s charge was then halted by a second appearance for the safety car just 8 minutes from the chequered flag and that was how the weekend’s final heat finished. Fontana therefore crossed the line in 9th place in class, making up no less than 14 positions in the overall standings during the course of his stint.

The next round of the GT Open championship is scheduled for the weekend of the 12th of May, when the series featuring Grand Touring cars will be at the Hockenheimring in Germany.

Alex Fontana: 
 “It was a weekend rich in highs and lows, but we’re nonetheless happy with what we were able to show, The International GT Open is an international championship of a very high level; we are very proud of having been able to compete for the overall podium in Race-1 and it is just a shame that the unfortunate collision late on took us out of the equation with regard to the class podium. I would however like to thank Car Collection Motorsport for having provided us with a truly competitive car and helped us throughout the weekend. I also have to compliment Hash who in his first international race at this level showed very encouraging signs of progress. I can’t wait to be back on track in two weeks’ time at Hockenheim for the second round of the championship.”