27 April 2003
BMS, TMC win at Magny-Cours.
An action-packed, high-attrition race around the redesigned Magny-Cours circuit in France saw Matteo Bobbi and Thomas Biagi take their second win of the season, while second place for team-mates Fabrizio Gollin and Luca Cappellari further extended BMS Scuderia Italia's championship lead.
The Lister Storm of Andrea Piccini and Jean-Denis Deletraz took third place in the 'senior' class, while, in N-GT, Team Maranello Concessionaires confirmed their early season promise by taking a first victory.
However, while Kelvin Burt and Darren Turner crossed the line first, their Ferrari 360 Modena was later excluded due to the capacity of the fuel tank. This promoted team-mates Jamie Davies and Tim Mullen to the lead, with the Freisinger Porsche of Marc Lieb and Stephane Ortelli second, and AutoPalace drivers Guillaume Gomez and Steve Hiesse third. Team Maranello Concessionaires have appealed the decision, and therefore the result of the race remains provisional.
After the torrential rain on Saturday, race day stayed dry, and 47,000 spectators came to watch the races, bringing the weekend total to 60,000.
A repeat of the Barcelona double for BMS Scuderia Italia looked far from certain, with the #23 and #22 cars only coming to the fore in the latter stages of the race, when assorted mechanical problems befell the rest of the field.
Christophe Bouchut, in the #1 Larbre Viper, took the lead at the start, and dominated the early stages of the race, building up a good lead. He was followed by the #2 Saleen, which was involved in a fine battle with Bobbi in the #23 Ferrari. The Saleen's progress finished on lap 14, however, as the car pulled off the track.
The next car to shine briefly was the #5 Force One Viper, with Mike Hezemans climbing up to second place, overtaking both the #23 Ferrari and the #14 Lister on one lap, before retiring with engine problems on lap 18.
The Larbre Competition Viper continued to lead until the first pit-stop, when a radiator leak was diagnosed and the car retired. This left Jamie Campbell-Walter, in the #14 Lister, at the front. He was soon joined by team-mate Andrea Piccini, in the #15 Storm, and the British team looked to be on course for a fine result.
The #23 car, however, was never far behind and, during the final hour, a good battle took place between Bobbi and Piccini for what appeared to be the runner-up spot. The more experienced Italian, suffering from a tyre problem, was not able to resist forever and, with 21 minutes to go, Bobbi took second place as Piccini pulled into the pits to change the left rear tyre, dropping down to fourth.
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