The first day of the V de V Endurance Series' penultimate French meeting of 2016 took place in hot conditions which enabled teams to better their cars' set-up, strategy and prepare for the races ahead.
6 Hours V de V Endurance Proto: DB Autosport double up in qualifying
Four consecutive pole positions – that's the current tally for French team DB Autosport; their Norma M20 FC n°22 driven by Delafosse, Dannielou and Petersen will start from the front row on Saturday, next to sister car n°21 – handled by team chief Daniel Bassora, Monclair and Bèche. The second row is a TFT lockout: current championship leaders Villarino, Ferté and Illiano (in car n°2) start alongside Norma n°8 entrusted to Capillaire, Lacoste and Taittinger.
CD Sport remain a contender for a podium finish – their n°32 machine (with drivers Maulini, Bole Besançon and Foubert) placed 5th on the grid, ahead of TFT's third entrant – car n°6 – handled by Bazaud, Thirion and Caillon – also the fastest of the Prestige class competitors. Previous winners Mondolot, Zollinger and Thuner (in Equipe Palmyr's car n°40) appear this time on the fourth row of the grid, also with sister car n°41 of drivers Kubry, Wolff and Beck. Graff's n°85 Ligier JS53 Evo 2, quickest among the constructor's entrants, rounded off the top 10.
4 Hours Endurance GT / Touring cars / LM P3 - GT / Touring cars: Ferrari VS Porsche, with Dodge on their tail?
IMSA Performance dominated the first free practice session thanks to superb efforts from Narac and Cornac, in the seat of their Porsche 991 GT3-R. This French circuit may hold a few surprises for ANTeam's Dodge Viper GT3-R however, as the Stucky / Yerly duo were hot on their tail several times during the session, trying to better their lap times. The n°64 Lamborghini Huracan entrusted to Busnelli and Babini, ran by Ebimotors this weekend had a great start to the weekend – their first in the V de V Endurance Series – signing the fourth quickest time.
Theirs was slightly better than that of Classic & Modern Racing's Ferrari 458 GT3, also new to the Challenge. Teammates Tremblay, Jaminet and Ledogar, behind the wheel of Porsche 997 GT3 Cup S n°65 (Porsche Alméras) lead the race for now in the GTV2 class, and Charriol, Rayneri and Pourquie (SF V8 n°96 Solution F) have the same status in the S1 class.
LM P3 / PFV: Impossible to predict the top 3
Team LNT/Simpson Motorsport's n°57 Ginetta G57, usually at the head of the pack, only managed to turn 4 laps during practice, giving way to CWS Recycling's n°55 machine, entrusted to White and Burns this weekend. The British duo set the fastest time of the session, ahead of Nova Race's n°75 Ginetta, driven by Varini, Konopka and Calko. Third and fourth respectively were Simpson Motorsport's final two cars - Robertson and Dirk de Jong (in car n°50) and Sanders and Deguffroy (behind the wheel of car n°52).
Among the LMP3 runners – Panis Barthez Compétition and drivers Debard, Police and Matelli placed their n°16 Ligier JS P3 at the top of the time sheets. Second and third in line were championship rivals Graff (car n°888 managed by Trouillet, Rossello and Dagoneau) and Inter Europol Competition (Ligier n°13 entrusted to Smiechowski and Hippe).