CD Sport has battled back against the dominant TFT squad to claim victory at the six hour endurance race at Paul Ricard in V de V Proto Endurance.
The #32 Norma M20 FC, handled by Nicolas Maulini, Kevin Bole-Besançon and Jean-Ludovic Foubert led a faultless race, despite keeping everyone in suspense right until the last second.
Before Claude Degremont's team crossed the line to take their sixth consecutive victory on this circuit, their rivals, DB Autosport seemed to have mastered qualifying, as two out of three cars were present on the front row of the grid: the #21 car entrusted to Bassora, Mahé, Perroy and the #22 machine of Delafosse, Dannielou and Petersen.
Both cars, having started at the front, led the pack for almost three hours before the #21 car lost 10 minutes in the pits. With the top teams all trying to complete their obligatory drive-throughs, the #22 machine managed to keep position until the final hour of the race.
The #32 Norma of team CD Sport led a careful yet ferocious race, and their strategy was executed perfectly when Kevin Bole-Besançon came into the pits to complete their final drive-through handicap with less than 5 minutes remaining. The gap to the second place car proved to be sufficient however as he emerged from the pitlane with a 5 second advantage over the #22 prototype.
The podium was completed by trio Capillaire, Lacoste and Da Cunha who led their #8 Norma prepared by TFT to a third place finish after suffering from an issue with the rear in the early stages of the race. The #2 sister car, handled by Vilarino, Ferté and Illiano also encountered a few engine problems, to hamstring them in fifth after battling for fourth place car #40 of Equipe Palmyr and drivers Mondolot, Zollinger and Thuner.
The #6 TFT line-up of Bazaud, Thirion and Caillon saw themselves recompensed for their efforts when they crossed the line to take a well-earned sixth place finish, and first in the Prestige class.
Not forgetting the superb performance of Equipe Palmyr's #42 machine, handled by Kubryk, Wolff and Beck who finished second in the class, after battling for several hours within the top 3 overall runners. Rounding up the podium for this category was TFT's final entrant - the #5 car of Morales, Rihon and Cimadomo - who led a fierce battle with the first of the Ligier runners: IDEC Sport Racing's #15 car, managed by F. and N. Da Rocha and G. Delomier.
4 Hours of GT / Touring car / LM P3 Endurance: Visiom, pole-sitters with their new Ferrari 488 GT3
Visiom's brand new #1 Ferrari has had an absolutely sensational start to the weekend. After producing the quickest time in Friday's Private Practice sessions, and then finishing at the top of the timesheets in the final Free Practice session, it wasn't a surprise when Pagny, Perrier and Bouvet crossed the line to take their second pole position in three races.
The reigning champions will start ahead of their best enemies; Cordoni, Montermini and Zanuttini, who together with the rest of the AF Corse team will attempt to beat the Frenchmen in their Ferrari 458 GT3 (#51). ANTeam continued to shine in qualifying, securing third place on the grid with their Dodge Viper GT3-R (#70), entrusted to Stucky and Yerly, who sit next to the Mercedes AMG GT3 of team IDEC Sport Racing (#17) and drivers Patrice and Paul Lafargue; another new addition to the V de V GT pack this weekend.
Appearing in order are the following cars: AB Sport Auto's Renault R.S. 01 (#45), whose line-up includes Thybaud, Proust and Jousse; the #76 Porsche 991 GT3-R of team IMSA Performance and drivers Narac and Cornac and finally the #25 Audi R8 LMS Ultra entered by WRT, driven this weekend by Versisch, Soenen and Detavernier. In the GTV2 clan, the advantage is in the hands of IDEC Sport Racing, who start at the head of the pack with their Porsche 991 GT3 Cup car (#15), whose drivers include Alloin, Enjalbert and Kox. In class S1, Boueix, Pourquié and Gasperini set the quickest time in their SF V8 machine.
LM P3 / PFV: Simpson Motorsport are invincible
It's a third consecutive pole position for the #57 Ginetta G57 of team Simpson Motorsport, handled by Lawrence Tomlinson, owner of Ginetta Cars, and teammate Mike Simpson, factory driver. The British manufacturer's success is completed by a second Ginetta on the front row, that of Italian team Nova Race (#59), driven by Magnoni and Lequeux this weekend.
The first Ligier JS P3 to appear on the grid is the #13 prototype of team Inter Europol Competition, entrusted to regular drivers Smiechowski and Hippe, who start in 3rd, in front of another Ligier, the #93 machine of team N'Race and its driver line-up Fontaine, Decultot and Perroy. The top five is completed by trio Watt, Rattenbury and Perrin, at the controls of the #50 Simpson Motorsport Ginetta, who will start ahead of Graff Racing's Ligier (#888), driven by Trouillet, Rosselo and Dagoneau.
Finally, Kox Racing's prototype, entrusted to Kox and Pronck, and Be Motorsport's machine, driven by Prado, Bakker and Castillo, both sporting Ligier, finished in 7th and 8th position respectively in the overall PFV/LMP3 classification.
Monoplace Challenge Race 1: Peroni controls the pack
Current title holder David Droux (RC Formula) is back this weekend to remind himself of the pleasure experienced behind the wheel of a monoplace. After qualifying on the front row, he followed pole-sitter Grégoire Saucy (GSK Grand Prix) before inheriting first place when Saucy unfortunately came to a stop on the second lap.
Droux broke his exhaust pipe at the first bend, he suddenly realised Gilles Heriau (Formula Motorsport) was on his tail, with Alex Peroni (TS Corse), Gilles Magnus (Zig Zag), Oscar Arcila (RC Formula) and Erwin Creed (Formula Motorsport) closing in behind. Peroni, who stands at the top of the championship standings powered on, and overtook Heriau on the 4th lap before attempting to make a pass on Droux.
The first five runners ended the race, quite spread apart from one another, Peroni managing to stay at the front of the pack in front of Droux, Heriau, Arcila and Magnus.
Christophe Hurni (Sports Promotion) and Michel Piroird (Formula Motorsport) were unfortunately unable to complete the race after making contact with each other, and in the Gentelman driver class it was Pietro Peccenini (TS Corse) who took the win in front of rookie Antoine Robert (RC Formula) and Luis Sanjuan (Sports Promotion), while Caryl Tritsche (Sports Promotion) finished at the top of the B class.