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FFSA GT French Championship - Round 5 - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya

28th - 30th September 2018

Event report and photos by Raymond Bonnello

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For this excursion beyond the borders of France, the competitors of the French FFSA GT Championship have found themselves on the Circuit of Barcelona-Catalunya.

The entry list had 39 registered.

Friday was devoted to free practice and qualifying.

Q1

At the end of the day, 5:05 pm, the drivers tackled the first qualifying session.

The first round of laps gave the advantage to Laurent Hurgon (BMW M4 #3 - BMW Team France) in 1'56''049, but he was quickly dethroned by Olivier Pernaut (Audi R8 LMS GT4 #48 - Orhes Racing).

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If the spins of Gilles Vannelet (Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR #2 - CD Sport) and Alexandre Bardinon (Mercedes AMG GT4 #68 - M Racing - YMR) were without consequence, that of Christophe Hamon (Audi R8 LMS GT4 #5 - Sainteloc Racing) provoked the the red flag appeared to clear his car from the gravel.

The session resumed while there was eleven minutes remaining.

Olivier Gomez (Maserati GranTurismo MC GT4 #34 - GP 34 by Gemo Motorsport) started the final sprint six minutes behind the checkered flag with a lap in 1'55''705.

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In the wake, the Spaniard Lluc Ibanez (Ginetta G55 GT4 #15 - NM Racing Team) grabbed him the pole position, at home, in 1'55''438, for his first qualification in GT4.

Olivier Pernaut came in second place at the very end of the session to stay ahead of Olivier Gomez.

12 cars were within a second of each other.

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Q2

In the second leg of the qualifying, Éric Trémoulet (Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR #64 - Vic'Team) was the first one to go to outposts in 1'56''416.

But Romain Monti (BMW M4 #100 - 3Y Technology) and Nelson Lukes (Ginetta G55 GT4 #94 - K-Works Racing) dislodged him quickly to take turns in the lead.

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At half-way, the AM driver Christopher Capello (Ginetta G55 GT4 #30 - CMR) continued to decrease the times, but his reign was short-lived as Jim Pla (Mercedes AMG GT4 #87 - AKKA-ASP Team) was the first to enter in the minute fifty-four, just before the appearance of the red flag caused by a collision between Nelson Lukes (Ginetta G55 GT4 #94 - K-Worx Racing) and Soheil Ayari (Alpine A110 GT4 #26 - CMR).

The ranking evolved little in the restart, Tugdual Rabreau (Mercedes AMG GT4 #85 - M Racing - YMR) being trapped in his turn.

The competitors started one more time in the assault of the chronometer four minutes from the end, but Jim Pla preserved the pole position in 1'54''875 ahead of Christopher Cappello and Xavier Lloveras (Ginetta G55 GT4 #15 - NM Racing Team).

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Race 1

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On the Circuit of Barcelona-Catalunya, Lluc Ibanez (Ginetta G55 GT4 #15 - NM Racing Team) started in pole position ahead of two competitors in the Am category, Olivier Pernaut and Olivier Gomez (Maserati GranTurismo #34 - GP 34 by Gemo Motorsport).

As soon as the safety car freed the pack, Olivier Pernaut took the lead in front of Olivier Gomez and Pierre Sancinéna (Alpine A110 GT4 #36 - CMR), author of an excellent jumpstart since the sixth place.

Olivier Jouffret (Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR #34 - Vic'Team) and Douglas Lundberg (Ginetta G55 GT4 #7 - Speed Car) also took over the poleman.

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Fabien Michal (Audi R8 LMS GT4 #42 - Sainteloc Racing) and Laurent Hurgon (BMW M4 GT4 #3 - BMW Team France) also found the opening on Lluc Ibanez, just before the full race yellow and the safety car caused by the collision between Christophe Lapierre (Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR #1 - CD Sport), Cyril Saleilles (Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR #14 - Cool Racing) and Ronald Basso (BMW M4 GT4 #100 - 3Y Technology).

The race has reclaimed its rights over in the eighth lap. Olivier Pernaut had managed to withstand the attacks of Olivier Gomez, who came into contact at the entrance of the chicane a lap later.

Olivier Jouffret then took the opportunity to climb to second place.

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When the driver change window opened Fabien Michal was the first to stop and give the wheel to Grégory Guilvert, but both men lost time and places in the pit lane.

Other crews preferred to delay their stop, even waited for the end of the window, as Olivier Pernaut and Robert Consani (Ginetta G55 GT4 #8 - Speed Car).

Twenty minutes from the checkered flag, Lonni Martins (Audi R8 LMS GT4 #5 - Sainteloc Racing) successfully challenged Éric Trémoulet.

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The latter was then worried by Grégory Guilvert (Audi R8 LMS GT4 #42 - Sainteloc Racing), who found the opening at the very moment when Benjamin Lariche (Ginetta G55 GT4 #8 - Speed Car) was forced to withdrawal.

Grégory Guilvert's good operation continued when he got the upper hand over Lonni Martins, who met a problem and got back to the pits.

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From now on, Grégory Guilvert ran the show ahead Éric Trémoulet and Thomas Drouet (Mercedes AMG GT4 #88 - AKKA-ASP Team).

Threatened from all sides by Jim Pla and Xavier Lloveras, Pierre-Alexandre Jean maintained his fourth place narrowly.

A little further, Steven Palette (Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR #27 - IMSA Peformance) took the seventh position at the expense of Julien Piguet (BMW M4 #3 - BMW Team France) while Nelson Lukes took advantage of the collition between Beitske Visser (BMW M4 GT4 #50 - 3Y Technology) and Matthew George (Aston Martin Vantage GT4 - #144 Generation AMR SuperRacing) to integrate a top ten completed by Rodolphe Wallgren, winner for the fifth time in the Am category.

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Race 2

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On Sunday, the conditions were warm and sunny when Jim Pla settled in pole position ahead of Christopher Cappello.

At the end of the formation lap, Jim Pla kept the orders ahead of Xavier Lloveras, Grégory Guilvert, Romain Monti and Éric Trémoulet.

Further, Steven Palette, Pascal Huteau (Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR #44 - Racing Technology) and Thomas Laurent (Mercedes AMG GT4 #68 - M-Racing - YMR) lost big in a chaotic start.

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On the Am category, Christopher Cappello was not worried, Clément Dub (Porsche Cayman GT4 CS MR #18 - Cool Racing) took the second place while the first turbulent lap of Arnaud Gomez and Manel Cerqueda (Audi R8 LMS GT4 #10 - Baporo Motorsport) allowed Rodolphe Wallgren to join the top 3.

Very quickly, Grégory Guilvert and Romain Monti passed Xavier Lloveras just before the safety car made his appearance the time to clear Tugdual Rabreau (Mercedes AMG GT4 #85 - M-Racing - YMR), trapped in the gravel.

At the restart, Jim Pla controlled Grégory Guilvert and Romain Monti while Matthew George (Aston Martin Vantage #144 - AMR SuperRacing Generation), Eric Trémoulet and Soheil Ayari got the better of Xavier Lloveras.

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Jim Pla and Grégory Guilvert broke away from their closest pursuers.

Before the opening of the pilot change window the pack was engaged in an intense battle.

The hierarchy evolved finally little since Jean-Luc Beaubelique (Mercedes AMG GT4 #87 - AKKA-ASP Team) took the track with eight seconds ahead of Fabien Michal, himself eight seconds ahead of Ronald Basso.

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A little further, Robert Consani made the show by making its way through the pack to try to keep the reins of the overall standings.

At the end of the race, Fabien Michal closed the gap on Jean-Luc Beaubelique.

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The driver of the Audi launched the decisive attack five minutes from the checkered flag and won in front of Jean-Luc Beaubelique and Olivier Jouffret.

The victory, In the AM class, went to the Gomez family ahead of Olivier Pernaut / Philippe Marie (Audi R8 LMS GT4 #48 - Orhes Racing) and Rodolphe Wallgren.

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My favourite of the Week End

As a motorsport fan, I can only delight me of the return of the Alpine brand, especially with the emblematic A110.

In GT4 version, the Alpine A110 develops a power of 330 hp (or 360 hp depending on the BOP).

Two cars were racing in Barcelona entered by CMR.

The #26 for Nicolas Tardif / Soheil Ayari and the #36 for Pierre Sancinena / Pierre-AlexandreJean.

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See you for he final at the Paul Ricard.

(Based on FFSA-GT series Press release)

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