The final classification of the V de V Funyo Challenge has now been revealed with Romain Houllier (HMC Racing) officially the overall 2016 champion after an incredible race which saw him progress from 17th to 2nd position.
Among the runners in the F5 class, Cédric Gardin (SBD Racing) had a difficult weekend, missing out on a podium finish in all three races. This didn't matter however, as he was already so far ahead on points, Gardin still secured the F5 title after the final race.
The other champions have yet to be named in the remaining V de V Sports championships. All will be decided at Estoril in November!
4 Hours Endurance GT / Touring cars / LM P3 - GT / Touring cars: Lambo and Ebimotors take the win on the last lap
The penultimate round of the season proved to be the most breathtaking yet. Ebimotors' Lamborghini Huracan GT3 (n°64) had appeared to cross the finish line in second position, but teammates Emanuele Busnelli and Fabio Babini received quite a surprise when they found out seconds later that ANTeam's magnificent Viper GT3-R (n°70) - situated at the front of the GT pack until that point - had suffered from brake problems in the final laps. Despite a strong performance from the Italian team on their debut in V de V, credit cannot be taken away from Stucky and Yerly who drove a fantastic race. In the end the duo passed the chequered flag to take a disappointing second.
Visiom's n°1 Ferrari 488 GT3 - driven by championship leaders Pagny, Perrier and Bouvet should have started from pole position, yet the car had a few technical issues before the start - allowing all competitors behind to move forward a place on the grid.
First to make the most of this move was the n°11 Renault R.S.01 of team V de V/AB Sport Auto, entrusted to championship Promoter Van de Vyver and Carugati, who finished third overall after a faultless race and sister car, the n°45 AB Sport Auto car entrusted to Thybaud / Proust / Abric that just failed to make a podium finish.
The trio managed to stay ahead of IMSA Performance's Porsche 991 GT3 R (n°76), handled by Narac and Cornac, a frontrunner of the race and likely winner before a small incident halfway through the race.
Fourth overall, Martinet by Alméras also scored first place in the GTV2 category. The Porsche 997 GT3 Cup S driven by Tremblay, Jaminet and Ledogar finished ahead of Visiom's Ferrari - who still take home precious points for the championship, and extend their lead in the standings ahead of rivals AF Corse.
LM P3 / PFV: Several candidates for the title
Picking up his fourth victory of the season, Lawrence Tomlinson - paired with Michael Simpson behind the wheel of his Ginetta G57 (n°57) - made a giant leap towards owning the title of the PFV championship this weekend. The same can be said for Jakub Smiechowski and Martin Hippe - winners of the LMP3 category for the fourth consecutive time since Paul Ricard, with their n°13 Ligier JS P3, prepared by Inter Europol Competition.
The n°57 Ginetta started from pole position and controlled the full grid of cars behind him in the initial stages. Tomlinson then completed the seven obligatory drive-through handicaps before the halfway point, which allowed teammate Simpson to attack and move back into first place during the final hour.
The race appeared faultless for the driver duo, but remained exciting nonetheless as sister car n°52, also prepared by Simpson Motorsport, driven by Deguffroy and Sanders, threatened to take the lead on several occasions. The young teammates eventually settled for second place, a way in front of the next Ginetta G57 - Race Performance's n°60 machine handled this weekend by Watt and Wilson.
Inter Europol Competition on the other hand didn't have such an easy race – as they spent the four hours fighting off several ambitious opponents. Two of the main rivals turned out to be N'Race – with their n°93 Ligier JSP3 entrusted to Fontaine, Decultot and Perroy – who were right behind the Polish team in closing stages, crossing the line in second place, and Duqueine Engineering (n°36), who were victorious at Barcelona and were present this weekend with drivers Borga, Droux and Duqueine. They took home a satisfying third place.
The Duqueine Ligier preceded Panis Barthez Competition's n°16 prototype (Debard, Police, Matelli), which, despite missing out on an overall podium position, managed to secure a win in the Prestige class. The team, belonging to ex-F1 driver Panis and French 1998 football champion Barthez were delighted to take home a prize on their maiden outing in V de V as 20 minutes before the end, it was thought the n°20 Ligier – driven by Coigny & Alexander David - would in fact claim the win. It turned out though that GPC Motorsport's car was forced to pit due to technical issues.
Finally, Graff's n°888 Ligier had the most eventful race – after being wiped out on the first lap by another competitor the car was sent back to the pits to undergo extensive repairs, yet managed to make it back up to 6th place to score important points in the championship that drivers Trouillet, Rossello & Capillaire desperately need in order for them to take the title at Estoril.