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FFSA GT French Championship - Round 6 Final - Circuit de Paul Ricard

13th - 14th October 2018

Event report and photos by Raymond Bonnello

The French FFSA-GT4 Championship announced for the final sprint in view to obtaining the title or for places of honour, the drivers promised to make Castellet the scene of a real show on the track.

Promises held !!

FFSA GT French Championship - Round 6 Final - Circuit de Paul Ricard (event report and photos by Raymond Bonnello) - picture number 001FFSA GT French Championship - Round 6 Final - Circuit de Paul Ricard (event report and photos by Raymond Bonnello) - picture number 002

Qualifying

Q1

Pierre Sancinena (Alpine A110 GT4 #36 - CMR) is placed at the top of the timesheets in Q1 with a time of 2.15.049, 0.949s faster than Sylvain Noël (Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR #11 - Racing Technology).

Olivier Jouffret (Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR #64 - VicTeam) started from the 2nd row with Douglas Lundberg (Ginetta G55 GT4 #7 - Speed Car).

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In Am, the pole went to Olivier Gomez (Maserati GranTurismo MC GT4 #34 - GP34 by GEMO Motorsport).

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Q2

The Q2 fell into Matthew George’s hands (Aston Martin Vantage GT4 #144 - Generation AMR Superracing) in 2.14.341.

Jim Pla (Mercedes-AMG GT4 #87 - AKKA-ASP Team) once again made the powder speak with a very nice 2nd time at 0.340s from pole.

The second line was 100% Alpine with Pierre-Alexandre Jean (Alpine A110 GT4 #36 - CMR) and Soheil Ayari (Alpine A110 GT4 #26 - CMR).

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In Am, Christopher Cappello (Ginetta G55 GT4 #30 - CMR) started from pole.

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Race 1

When the safety car released the forty-seven cars, the Porsches went as high as of the Alpine, without finding the opening at the first corner.

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The leader of the French FFSA GT Championship Fabien Michal (Audi R8 LMS #42 - Saintéloc Racing) was forced to retire after a collision with the McLaren 570 S of Team GT.

In the lead, Laurent Hurgon managed to overtake the two Porsches before threatening Pierre Sancinéna, but he had to be patient because another turning point in the title fight took place in the third lap.

Romain Brandela (BMW M4 #100 - 3Y Technology) and Robert Consani (Ginetta G55 #8 - Speed Car) bumped into each other and the latter had to give up, broken rear-left suspension.

His Ginetta being badly positioned, the race was neutralized before the red flag was brandished to remove many debris present in the straight line of the Mistral.

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After the restart, Pierre Sancinéna and Laurent Hurgon quickly took their distance with their pursuers, thrown into a duel for third place.

As soon as the pilot change window was opened, Sylvain Noël was the first of the leaders to enter the pit lane, but his competitors imitated him one lap later.

When the entire peloton had made its stop, the lead quartet remained unchanged with Pierre-Alexandre Jean's Alpine in front of Julien Piguet (BMW M4 #3 - BMW Team France), Éric Trémoulet (Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR #64 - VicTeam) and Jimmy Antunes (Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR #11 - Racing Technology).

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Twenty-two minutes from the checkered flag, Julien Piguet grabbed the controls by overtaking Pierre-Alexandre Jean - in the obligation to win to preserve his chances of title - outside the chicane.

In parallel, Jim Pla also made the show and multiplied the overtakings to take a maximum of points in the battle for the championship.

In the final laps, Pierre-Alexandre Jean and Eric Trémoulet returned to Julien Piguet, but he did not gave in and signed the first victory of the season for BMW.

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In the Am category, Olivier Gomez was best placed on the grid by starting from the third row.

He was ahead of Julien Lambert (Porsche Cayman Clubsport MR #25 - AGS Events), Olivier Pernaut (Audi R8 LMS #48 - Orhès Racing), Tugdual Rabreau (Mercedes-AMG #85 - M Racing - YMR) and Rodolphe Wallgren (Ginetta G55 #4 - Speed Car).

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The start was favorable to Olivier Gomez, always in the lead while Olivier Pernaut took over on Julien Lambert.

Rodolphe Wallgren was in fourth place before overtaking his main rival for the title. Stéphane Brémard (Porsche Cayman Clubsport MR #982 - FOXO) was in fifth place, but Elie Dubelly (BMW Ekris M4 #9 - BMW Team France) found the opening before the red flag.

The car of the latter however, stuck in the pit lane, victim of a mechanical problem before the lap of relaunching!

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After the restart, Olivier Gomez kept the controls in front of Olivier Pernaut.

Julien Lambert took third place back to Rodolphe Wallgren, who returned to the pits in the wake to make his mandatory stop.

If his opponents preferred to prolong their time at the wheel to enjoy a clear track, the strategy nonetheless paid off as he was second behind Arnaud Gomez.

Nicolas Gomar, Laurent Misbach and Alain Grand (BMW M4 #77 - 3Y Technology) completed the top five while Philippe Marie performed the wrong operation after the relay Olivier Pernaut, second before his stop.

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The second half of the race was marked by the Clément Dub's ascent (Porsche Cayman Clubsport MR #18 - Cool Racing), who successively overtook Alain Grand and Daniel Diaz-Varela (Audi R8 LMS #10 - Baporo Motorsport) to climb to fifth place.

Comfortably installed in the lead, Arnaud Gomez was the first to reach the finish line ahead of Rodolphe Wallgren.

Spinning in the last lap, Nicolas Gomar finished fifth behind Clément Dub and Laurent Misbach.

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Race 2

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Before the finale at Circuit Paul Ricard, three crews were still in the running :

Grégory Guilvert / Fabien Michal, Benjamin Lariche / Robert Consani and Jim Pla / Jean-Luc Beaubelique.

At the start, Matthew George was ahead of Jim Pla, Pierre-Alexandre Jean, Soheil Ayari, Steven Palette and Grégory Guilvert.

If Jim Pla took the lead at the first corner ahead of Pierre-Alexandre Jean and Steven Palette, Matthew George got the upper hand over the opposition to recover his property in the eighth lap.

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Twenty-fourth at the opening of the driver change window, Benjamin Lariche is the first to stop to pass the baton to Robert Consani.

Respectively second and fifteenth, Jim Pla and Grégory Guilvert preferred to extend their relay before giving the wheel to Jean-Luc Beaubelique and Fabien Michal.

At the closing of the driver change window, Jean-Luc Beaubelique was eight seconds ahead of James Holder, who suffered a puncture after a duel with Pierre Sancinéna.

The Alpine’s driver took the opportunity to climb to second place and pursue a leader who had to win to hope to be crowned.

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The last ten minutes intensified even more the fight at a distance between the title canditates.

Twelfth, Fabien Michal multiplied overtaking to came back to the top ten while Jean-Luc Beaubelique had to face Pierre Sancinéna’s attacks.

Three minutes from the checkered flag, the Alpine found the opening and escaped.

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Pierre Sancinéna finally won over Jean-Luc Beaubelique and Olivier Jouffret.

Fifth in the Pro-Am standings at the finish, Fabien Michal and Grégory Guilvert became French FFSA GT Champions while Saintéloc Racing won the team title!

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In the category Am, the last pretenders still in the running for the title were Rodolphe Wallgren and Julien Lambert / Nicolas Gomar.

The start allowed Clément Dub to keep the lead ahead of Laurent Fresnais (BMW Ekris M4 #9 - BMW Team France).

Christopher Cappello, Arnaud Gomez (Maserati GranTurismo #34 - GP 34 by Gemo Motorsport) and Nicolas Gomar competed for third place while Rodolphe Wallgren slipped out of the points, preferring to play for safety.

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The distance duel for the title continued between Julien Lambert, then third, and Rodolphe Wallgren, well back halfway.

SPEED CAR’s driver had only to manage to be crowned, but he lost his bonnet ten minutes from the finish.

Despite this handicap and the overtaking of Julien Lambert on Laurent Dub, Rodolphe Wallgren resisted and became French FFSA GT Champion in AM class.

In the teams, the AGS Events structure was finally ahead of Speed Car by four points.

Podiums

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My favourite of the season

My favorite of the season could have the champion or his hier apparent for their season and for the suspense they made us live in the final.

But my favorite goes to the CMR (Classic and Modern Racing) team.

The team started the GT4 France Championship with 3 Ginetta G55, and From the third round, run in Dijon the weekend of the French National Day, the three Ginetta were joined by two Alpine A110 GT4.

The team has 4 to 5 cars of two different brands during more than half of the season, with victories, podiums and pole positions throughout the meetings.

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Without forgetting that the team is also involved in the Alpine Elf Europa Cup which it wins with Pierre Sancinéna.

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It is for this eclecticism (and the results) that my favorite goes.

congratulations to all and see you next year on the circuit.

FFSA-GT4 2019 Calendar

19 - 22 April / Circuit Paul Armagnac de Nogaro

17 - 19 May / Circuit de Pau-Ville

05 - 07 July / Circuit de Ledenon

25 - 27 July / Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

13 - 15 September / Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours

12 - 13 October / Circuit Paul Ricard

(Based on FFSA-GT series Press release)

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