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International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France

3rd - 4th March 2017

Event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire

And now the Paul Ricard

After Barcelona, the Circuit Paul Ricard in Southern France is hosting the second Winter Test ahead of the start of the International GT Open’s 2017 season.

Six manufacturers were represented, although not exactly the same ones as in Spain, Lamborghini (Huracan GT3 and Huracan Super Trofeo), BMW (M6 GT3), Mercedes (AMG GT3), Aston Martin (Vantage GT3), McLaren (650 S GT3) and Ferrari (488 GT3, 458 GT3, 458 Challenge).

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Fourteen squads had traveled to Le Castellet, Team Teo Martin (BMW), SF Racing, AF Corse, Spirit of Race, FF Corse, Kessel Racing (all with Ferrari), Raton Racing, AB Sport Auto, AGS - Groupe, FFF Racing (Lamborghini), Solaris Motorsport (Aston Martin), Sport and you, SPS Automotive Performance (Mercedes) and Garage 59 (McLaren).

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Friday

The first day of testing at the Paul Ricard ran smoothly, with perfect weather and track conditions.

Andrea Caldarelli-Fu Sangyong (SF Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 - #5) posting the best time (2.04.095) followed by Victor Bouveng-Juan Cruz Álvarez (Team Teo Martin BMW M6 GT3 - #3) with a gap of 0.587 second preceding Hiroshi Hamaguchi-Vitantonio Liuzzi (FFF Racing Team by ACM Lamborghini Huracan - #555) in 2:04.769.

International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 023International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 024International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 025International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 026International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 027International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 028International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 029International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 030International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 031International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 032International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 033International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 034

Session 3 saw the only two incidents of the day: a slight contact between Valentin Pierburg (SPS Mercedes - #20) and Motoaki Ishikawa (Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 - #9) in turn 5, and a heavier side-to-side collision between Michael Benham (Garage59 McLaren - #59) and Rui Aguas (Spirit of Race Ferrari 458 GT3 - #99) in turn 2.

Saturday

Rain, heavy at times, and even hail, together with strong winds, conditions changed drastically this saturday at the Paul Ricard, disrupting the testing programme of the teams.

International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 035International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 036International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 037International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 038International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 039International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 040

The two morning sessions were still held in reasonable conditions, with 14 and 11 cars on track, respectively, and resulted useful, while the afternoon sessions were basically deserted, with 9 cars on track in session 7 and the sole Jose Collado-Nicolas Gomar (AGS - Groupe Lamborghini Huracan Super Trofeo - #60) braving the conditions in the last session in 2:38.343.

The best time of the day was the work of Victor Bouveng-Juan Cruz (Teo Martin BMW M6 GT3 - #3) in 2:19.331 in session 5.

International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 041International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 042International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 043International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 044International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 045International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 046International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 047International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 048International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 049International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 050International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 051International GT Open - Winter Tests - Paul Ricard - France (event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire) - picture number 052

With official testing activity over, the wait is now for the season’s kick-off in Estoril on 28-30 April.

(Based on International Open GT Press release)

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