Silver Cup victories for NM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG and CMR Toyota
Saintéloc Racing Audi sweeps Pro-Am with double victory
Wins for AGS Events Aston Martin and Team Fullmotorsport Audi in Am
Circuit Paul Ricard played host to the third and fouth race of 2021 GT4 European Series today. More than 40 cars from nine different manufacturers competed in the two one-hour races on the famous circuit in the south of France.
RACE 1 - NM RACING TEAM MERCEDES-AMG TAKES THIRD SUCCESSIVE CIRCUIT PAUL RICARD WIN
NM Racing Team Lluc Ibanez led from start to finish at Circuit Paul Ricard to clinch its third consecutive GT4 European Series win at the French circuit.
Starting from pole, Lluc Ibanez managed to maintain his position and keep the CMR Toyota of Stephane Lémeret behind. By the time the pit window opened the #15 Mercedes-AMG had a comfortable lead over the rest over the field.
After the pit stops the #8 Toyota, now with Antoine Potty behind the wheel, closed the gap to the #15 Mercedes-AMG, but Xavier Lloveras didn’t crack under pressure and went on to take the Spanish team’s first win of the season. After 26 laps around the 5.822 m circuit the gap between Lloveras and Potty was 0.983s.
Monza race winners Bailey Voisin and Charlie Fagg secured third place after a strong race. The #23 United Autosports McLaren started from 15th place on the grid, but Voisin was already in fourth by the end of lap 6. Both United Autosports drivers battled for third with Loris Cabirou and Vincent Beltoise in the #30 CMR Alpine.
It was the #23 McLaren that took third spot, although Charlie Fagg came under pressure from the #17 V8 Racing Chevrolet of Thijmen Nabuurs in the final minutes of the race, after the young Dutchman found his way past the #30 Alpine. The Alpine was classified fifth, followed by the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG of Paul Evrard and Timothé Buret and the #22 Allied Racing Porsche Joel Sturm and Nicolaj Møller-Madsen. The #27 AGS Events Aston Martin César Gazeau and Konstantin Lachenauer completed the overall and Silver Cup top 8.
Victory in the Pro-Am Cup went to the #42 Saintéloc Racing Audi of Gregory Guilvert and Fabien Michal. The Audi started the race from pole position but dropped behind Thomas Hodier in the #5 Team Speedcar Audi in the early part of the race. After the pit stops, Guilvert reclaimed the lead and went on to win the race for Saintéloc Racing.
The #42 Audi finished ninth overall, 12.707s clear of the #5 Team Speedcar Audi of Thomas Hodier and Pierre Courroye. Centri Porsche Ticino drivers Ivan Jacoma and Max Busnelli claimed a Pro-Am Cup podium finish, with the #718 Porsche taking third. Fourth went the way of the #87 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG of Jean-Luc Beaubelique and Jim Pla, followed by the #34 Selleslagh Racing Team Mercedes-AMG of Luca Bosco and O'neill Muth.
Nicolas Gomar clinched another win at Circuit Paul Ricard in the #89 AGS Events Aston Martin. The French driver won both races at the end of the 2020 season and went on to win Race 1 with new teammate Eric Herr. The #69 Team Fullmotorsport Audi of Christophe Hamon and Michael Blanchemain took second place, ahead of the #50 W&D Racing Team BMW Paolo Meloni and Massimiliano Tresoldi.
Completing the Am Cup top five were the #61 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG of Benjamin and Mauro Ricci and the #33 SVC Sport Management Toyota of Antoni and Piotr Chodzen.
RACE 2 - CMR TAKES ONE-TWO VICTORY IN SECOND RACE THIS AFTERNOON
CMR took a commanding one-two victory in the second GT4 European Series race this afternoon. The #8 Toyota of Antoine Potty and Stephane Lémeret won the race, with the #30 Alpine of Loris Cabirou and Vincent Beltoise taking second place.
Jim Pla in the #87 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG took control of the race right at the start from third on the grid, leaving front row starters Gregory Guilvert in the #42 Audi, Antoine Potty in the #8 Toyota and Charlie Fagg in the #23 McLaren behind.
The two Pro-Am drivers were separated by just a couple of seconds and maintained their one-two overall for half of the race, but on lap 14 Antoine Potty managed to put his CMR Toyota in between the Mercedes and the Audi.
Potty maintained a healthy lead over Charlie Fagg and Thijmen Nabuurs in the battle for Silver Cup honours and when the front runners dived into the pits, the gap between the class leader and his pursuers was over seven seconds.
After all teams had completed their mandatory stops the #87 Mercedes-AMG was still leading, but Stephane Lémeret in the #8 Toyota lapped quicker than Beaubelique and the Belgian driver made a comfortable pass on lap 18.
Two laps later Fabien Michal in the #42 Audi also jumped Beaubelique to take the Pro-Am lead. In the meantime Vincent Beltoise in the #30 CMR Alpine passed Jop Rappange in the V8 Racing Chevrolet to take second in Silver. On the penultimate lap Beltoise overtook Michal, but time had run out for Beltoise to try and catch his team mate and challenge him for the race win.
Stephane Lémeret crossed the line 2.682s clear of Vincent Beltoise, ensuring a CMR one-two on home soil and the second outright victory of the Toyota GR Supra GT4 in the GT4 European Series. The #17 V8 Racing Camaro of Thijmen Nabuurs and Jop Rappange completed the Silver Cup podium finishing fourth on the road.
Saintéloc Racing claimed its second Pro-Am victory at Circuit Paul Ricard with Fabien Michal and Gregory Guilvert ultimately finishing third overall in the #42 Audi. The #87 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG of Jim Pla and Jean-Luc Beaubelique ended the race second in class, finishing fifth overall, while the #5 Team Speedcar Audi of Hodier and Courroye took the final Pro-Am podium spot.
Hodier finished just 0.293s clear of the #34 Selleslagh Racing Team Mercedes-AMG of Bosco and Muth, with the #718 Centri Porsche Ticino car of Jacoma and Busnelli completing the Pro-Am top five.
The battle for Am honours went down to the wire. Christophe Hamon and Michael Blanchemain won the race after Hamon took the lead from the #3 CMR Toyota of Benezet and Cazalbon just four minutes from the end. The #89 AGS Events Aston Martin of Gomar and Herr finished in third place, with Gomar passing the #50 W&D Racing Team BMW of Meloni and Tresoldi right at the end of the race.
The next round of the GT4 European Series will be held at Zandvoort on June 18-20. The series will support the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Sprint Cup in the Netherlands. The two one-hour races at Zandvoort will be held on Sunday.