Mister "John of B" and Le "Commandeur" win 6 hours of Paul Ricard in Chevron B8 GT

Mister "John of B" and Le "Commandeur" win 6 hours of Paul Ricard in Chevron B8 GT

The 6 Hours of Paul Ricard, the final round of preparation for the famous 2 Tours d'Horloge which will take place at the beginning of November, turned into an exciting race in which the Chevron B8 GT crewed by " Mister John of B"/"Le Commandeur" emerged victorious in the heart of the Provençal night, their first victory in a V de V Sports event.

The event was part of a meeting that included a round of the Spanish F4 championship, the Radical Cup and the Eurocup -3 in which Emerson Fittipaldi Jr, son of the two-time Brazilian F1 world champion, competes. The second round of the V of V Sports season welcomed nineteen crews representing five nationalities to the Paul Ricard circuit last weekend.

During the private test session organised on Friday, two cars were unfortunately forced to retire. They were beyond immediate repair and would play no further part in the rest of the competition: Team WKMR’s Elva MK8 driven by Marc Alloend - Bessand /Yann Le Calvez (engine failure) and the Team V de V’s TVR Griffith 200 of Eric Van de Vyver/Patrick Brossard/Thierry Mathez (ignition problems).

Saturday promised to be a busy day and kicked off with the qualifying session held on a track heated to over 50 degrees! The duo Pascal Duhamel/Sébastien Crubile at the wheel of the Porsche 930 Turbo entered by the Pascalou Racing team proved to be the fastest and took another pole position on the Le Castellet track ahead of the Chevron B8 GT of “Mister John of B”/“ Le Commandeur” and the Ford GT 40 run by Belgian team HYRACING driven by Brice Pineau/Olivier Muytjens. Swiss outfit Mansfeld was fourth quickest with the Porsche 911 3.0 in the hands of Marc and Christine de Siebenthal/Henrique Gemperle ahead of the Team BERSI’s 911 3.0 RS of Damien Kohler and José Da Rocha, leaders of the Endurance VHC classification.

Barely three hours after the end of qualifying, the grid procedure for the 6 Hour race was launched and at 6:55 p.m. the start was given. Setting off from pole position, the Pascalou Racing Porsche 930 Turbo held on to first place for the first ten laps before its driver Pascal Duhamel was unable to do his stint due to physical problems. The crew being made up of only two drivers, this decision was synonymous with retirement. The Chevron B8 GT of “Mister John of B”/“Le Commandeur” then took up the running and led for the next 15 laps. The leadership changed again 26th time round with the Ford GT40 crewed by Brice Pineau/Olivier Muytjens now topping the time sheets. But after 21 laps in the lead, the Belgian team ran into problems with a loose universal joint nut on its car. The Ford GT40 was immobilised for 20 minutes at its pit for repairs and tumbled down the general classification to finally finish sixth at the chequered flag.

In the meantime, the Swiss Mansfeld team’s Porsche 911. 3.0 entrusted to Marc and Christine de Siebenthal/Henrique Gemperle topped the time sheets on the timing screens and held on to the no. 1 spot for 42 laps before running out of fuel, which jeopardised its chances of victory and relegated it to fourth place at the finish.

From then on, the Chevron B8 GT of “ Mister John of B”/“Le Commandeur” took up the running in the 6 Hours of Paul Ricard and went on to claim victory 44 laps later in the Provençal night. Forty-four seconds afterwards, the Team BERSI Porsche 911 3.0 RS driven by Damien Kohler and José Da Rocha took the checkered flag and consolidated its status as leader in the Endurance VHC classification. A new addition to the V de V Sports races, the Jaguar Type E prepared by Equipe Europe for Armand Mille and Yves Scemama finished on the third step of the podium in the overall classification and also won the Historic category. Another car registered under the banner of Yvan Mahé's squad, an authentic BMW 635 Group A having participated in the European Touring Car Championship and the 24 Hours of Spa in the hands of ex-Belgian Formula 1 driver, Thierry Boutsen, driven by Jeanne Mille (Armand's sister) and Hervé Ordioni came home in a very promising ninth position overall (1st in the tourism category) on their crew's first participation in a VHC endurance event.
The BMW 323 i in the hands of Eric Wassermann/Olivier Huez/Jean-Michel Villot finished in fifth place and won the Saloon Car classification ahead of the Triumph TR8 IMSA entered by Ideal Auto Concept driven by Bernard Ladebese/Eric Gasperini/Sébastien Basso. The Porsche 944 S2 of Arnold Noret/Jacques Colibet/Nicolas Rossignol prepared by the team managed by Alain Cudini , a former French Touring Car champion with 13 starts in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, held on to fourth place for a long time before suffering engine problems. It finally saw the chequered flag in eighth place.

After participating in the last edition of the 2 Tours d'Horloge at the wheel of a Lotus Elan, the 100% female crew comprising Michaela Etcheverry/Charlotte Lacoste/Cathy Briffa was entered in a Porsche 964 from the Pascalou Racing stable. Despite having to cope with a car that was much more physical to drive than the very agile little English machine, they managed to hoist the German GT into the Top 10!

The Porsche 911 3.0 SC prepared by the AM25 team for Philippe and Arnaud Achard/Jean-Yves Grandidier followed by the Team WKMR Ford Mustang entrusted to Stéphane and Baptiste Guyot-Sionnest/Kilian Noël completed the classification.

Whatever their result in yet another edition of the 6 Hours of Paul Ricard, the crews took full advantage of the friendly family atmosphere dear to the organiser, V de V Sports, as well as the excellent summery conditions to prepare for the 18th edition of the 2 Tours d’Horloge, the only endurance event in the world reserved for Historic Racing Car run for 24 hours without interruption s, which will take place on 1st, 2nd and 3rd November of this year.

In the meantime, the crews of the 6 Hours of Paul Ricard and the spectators who came to attend the event will remember the presence of Emerson Fittipaldi at the circuit. The Brazilian, two-time Formula 1 world champion in 1972 and 1974, winner of the CART championship in 1989 and the famous Indianapolis 500 in 1989 and 1993, follows his son's career in Eurocup -3 closely, and got back behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car from the Fittipaldi Copersucar family team for which he drove during the 1976 and 1977 seasons.
Not classified:
n° 9 – Porsche 911 3.0 SC (GT Classic) – Philippe Baert/Stéphane Moreau (gearbox).
n° 175 – BMW 530 ius (Carrefour Location) – Patrick Bourguignon/Jorge Vargas-Clement/Pierre Laversanne/Malivaï Castelli (alternator and battery mounting).
n° 25 – Porsche 944 Turbo (AM25) – Philippe, Arnaud et Edouard Martin (oil pump, , connecting rod).
n° 42 – BMW M3 E30 (Wassermann Racing) – Guy Burnichon/Adrien Catelin (brake failure).
n° 5 – Porsche 930 Turbo (Pascalou Racing/Crubile Sport) – Pascal Duhamel/Sébastien Crubile (driver’s physical problems).
n° 3 – Elva MK8 (Team WKMR) – Marc Alloend-Bessand/Yann Le Calvez (engine failure).
n° 11 – TVR Griffith 200 (Team V de V) – Eric Van de Vyver/ Patrick Brossard/ Thierry Mathez (ignition problems).

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