Fifteen seconds stood between the top three teams, in Saturday's Endurance Proto race, one hour before the chequered flag.
The GT/Touring car/LMP3 Challenge witnessed an intense battle to record the fastest lap in qualifying and the Funyo and Monoplace Challenges saw several drivers step to the top of the podium… The second day of the V de V Endurance Series promised action, and explosive it was!
6 Hours V de V Endurance Proto: TFT, one step closer to the title
Victorious at Barcelona and Le Mans, teammates Ander Vilarino, Alain Ferté and Philippe Illiano, united behind the wheel of TFT's n°2 Norma M20 FC took their third victory of the year on Saturday to extend their lead in the championship before the season finale at Estoril.
Polesitters DB Autosport with drivers Delafosse, Dannielou and Petersen at the wheel finally got what they deserved. They lead a spectacular race – with one hour to go, the n°22 machine was at the front of the pack and had completed all of its obligatory handicap drive-throughs. For the n°32 CD Sport clan, victorious at Le Castellet, Maulini, Bole Besançon and Foubert sat comfortably in third position, just a few seconds behind the car in front, before moving up a place thanks to a well-calculated strategy from the team.
A short while later however, a spin at Château d'Eau caused the car to lose position, and allow the n°2 Norma to progress to the front. Forty-five minutes later, they were presented with first place, after car n°22 suffered with brake problems and was forced to pit. Vilarino, who'd started the race, simply had to bring the car home at a steady pace to win.
One of the favourites on the grid – Equipe Palmyr's n°40 Norma – entrusted to regulars Mondolot, Zollinger and Thuner was set for a delightful result – engaging in several battles at the front of the pack – until the engine gave way during the third hour of the race. DB Autosport's second strong contender for the win - Norma n°21 – was cursed with alternator problems throughout the race and finished 5th overall. Meanwhile, TFT's n°8 machine (Capillaire / Lacoste / Taittinger) also had several mechanical issues and placed 8th in the end – behind CD Sports' n°31 Norma entrusted to Cochet, Kirchdoerffer and Faure.
These events gifted the Prestige class winners a third place finish overall. On the third step of the podium Bazaud, Thirion and Caillon received two sets of trophies; while rivals Kubryk, Wolff and Beck (Equipe Palmyr) finished second. After a faultless race, the TFT armada managed to place 3 out of 4 cars on the podium – with the n°5 car (Morales / Rihon / Cimadomo) crossing the line in 3rd for the Prestige class.
4 Hours Endurance GT / Touring cars / LM P3 - GT / Touring cars: Visiom justifies its n°1
Having won four out of five races so far this season, the n°1 Ferrari 488 GT3 of team Visiom driven by Pagny, Perrier and Bouvet has the upper hand going into Sunday's race after signing the fastest (average) lap time in qualifying in the overall GT category.
Consistent throughout the weekend, ANTeam will also be hoping for a win – Stucky and Yerly's combined lap times mean the Swiss Team's Dodge Viper GT3-R will start from second place, ahead of Ebimotors' magnificent Lamborghini Huracan GT3, new to the V de V Challenge. AF Corse's Ferrari 458 is next in line and on the third row of the GT grid, IMSA Performance's Porsche 991 GT3-R. Porsche Alméras has so far dominated the GTV2 class – the Porsche 997 GT3 Cup S is entrusted to Gentleman driver Tremblay and young duo Jaminet / Ledogar, while Solution F remain at the summit of the S1 class with drivers Charriol, Rayneri and Pourquie behind the wheel of their SF V8.
LM P3 / PFV: Simpson Motorsport & Duqueine Engineering on top
After only producing a few flying laps yesterday in practice, the Ginetta G57 n°57 entered by LNT/Simpson Motorsport flew to the top of the time sheets in Free Practice 2 then in qualifying after setting the fastest time overall. The polesitters – Lawrence Tomlinson and Mike Simpson – start alongside young duo Sanders and Deguffroy, who drive the n°52 G57 this weekend.
The second row, occupied by Duqueine Engineering's n°36 Ligier JS P3 is the first of the LMP3 runners on the grid; it'll start next to Ginetta n°59 for Sunday's race – one of the two G57s to be entered by Race Performance this weekend with Jackson and Modell behind the wheel. Panis Barthez Compétition appears to be the second strongest force in the LMP3 category – the n°16 Ligier is handled by Debard, Police and Matelli for this final French round, while Graff still remains in the top 3 with their n°888 machine entrusted to Trouillet, Rossello and Capillaire.