The fifth V de V Endurance Series encounter of 2017 kicked off under clear skies on Friday at the wonderful Mugello arena. A look at the lap times revealed each driver's determination to perform here while the races plan to be both hot and challenging.
6 Hours GT / Touring cars / LM P3 Endurance: Advantage AB Sport Auto
In the land of Ferrari 488 (Visiom) and Ferrari 458 (AF Corse), AB Sport Auto were untouchable on Friday - recording the fastest lap time of the day. The #45 Renault R.S.01 entrusted to drivers Thybaud, Proust and Jousse raised the bar for the hungry pack of GTV1 cars, 7 here this weekend, after AF Corse (#51) proved quickest in the morning session. The Dodge Viper prepared by ANTeam, driven by Stucky and Yerly was hot on the Italian team's tail, and further behind, the #11 Renault R.S. 01, prepared by AB Sport Auto and V de V also showed incredible pace. Returning to the Challenge this weekend, WRT and drivers Vervisch, Soenen and Detavernier proved they too were in the fight for the fastest time – setting the second best lap of the afternoon session. Solution F (Charriol, Rayneri and Chardonnet) had a great day of running in their powerful SF V8 machine, while Mallegol, Bachelier and Blank were the fastest of the GTV2 runners in their Porsche 991 GT3 Cup.
LM P3 / PFV: Either one or the other
After commanding the category since the start of the season, the Ginetta G57 #57 prepared by Simpson Motorsport was overthrown this weekend by Race Performance's #59 machine (McKinnon / Jackson) in the first session, then by CWS Recycling's #55 Ginetta (Robertson / White) in the second.
New to the LMP3 category, GPC Motorsport - in collaboration with Yvan Muller Racing - with drivers Coigny and Alexander-David managed to get in among the fierce Ginetta prototypes during morning practice, and proved quicker than current championship leader Tomlinson, who this weekend races alongside Lancaster and Sanders. The task won't be easy for car #20, as Ginetta are represented by none less than 6 cars here at Mugello – the largest turnout for the British manufacturer yet this season. Ligier also have a comfortable number of entrants – 7 in total – including Inter Europol Competition (Smiechowski / Hippe) and Graff (Trouillet / Rosselo / Dagoneau), strong contenders for qualifying.
6 Hours V de V Endurance Proto: CD Sport first to shine
The team managed by Claude Degremont wished to remind everyone of their previous success at Mugello in 2015 – and Friday's sessions saw both the #30 Norma M20 FC (Accary / Dhouailly / Haezebrouck) and the #31 car (Maulini / Bole-Besançon / Foubert) swap positions at the top of the time sheets. The #30 recorded the second best time in afternoon practice, while TFT's #2 Norma justified its status as current championship leader after creeping into the second slot in the morning.
Tony Pereira's team also managed to place car #8 – entrusted to Capillaire, Lacoste and Dromedari – in the top 3, while Equipe Palmyr showed strong pace with their #40 Norma. Avelon Formula, on their home track here at Mugello, squeezed their Wolf prototype powered by a turbo engine into the top 10 in morning practice. Finally, Saturday's qualifying plans to be intense between teams TFT (car #5) and Equipe Palmyr (car #42) – tied for first place in the championship standings within the Prestige category.