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FFSA GT French Championship - Nogaro - Coupes de Paques

15th - 18th April 2022

Event report and photos by Raymond Bonnello

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Since April 2019, I had not returned to Nogaro for ‘’Les Coupes de Pâques’’, due to the pandemic. The day has arrived to see GT4s again on the Gersois circuit.

The Easter Cups will, once again, be the inaugural meeting of the French FFSA-GT championship, which is entering its sixth edition in GT4 configuration.

Over forty cars are expected representing eight brands. Alpine, Aston-Martin, Audi, BMW, Ginetta, Mercedes, Porsche and Toyota.

In view of the crews announced, divided into three classes AM, Silver and Pro-AM, making predictions is going to be a real challenge (and I won't risk it), who will complain?

Free practice 1

It was under the sun that the first free practice session of the 2022 season took place this Friday.

Valentin Hasse-Clot - Romano Ricci (Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 / Mirage Racing #13) climbed to the top of the time sheet.

Thomas Drouet - Paul Evrard (Mercedes AMG GT4 / Akkodis ASP #88) were the fastest in the Silver Cup.

The best time in the AM Cup goes to Davy Levy and François Denis (Ginetta G55 / Team Speedcar #555).

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Free practice 2

A second free practice session took place early Saturday afternoon. Marked by 3 red flags, this session saw Roee Meyuhas - Erwan Bastard (Audi R8 LMS GT4 / Saintéloc Racing # 14) set the best time, in 1:32.259, overall and in the Silver Cup ahead of the Pro-Am Arno crew Santamato - Rodolphe Wallgren (Audi R8 LMS GT4 / CSA Racing #888).

Christophe Hamon - Michaël Blanchemain (Audi R8 LMS GT4 / Team Fullmotorsport #69) winning the AM category.

3 Audi R8 LMS GT4 leading the 3 categories.

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Qualifying Practice Driver 1

Already fastest in free practice 2, Roee Meyuhas once again brought his Audi R8 to the top of the sheet ahead of another Audi R8, that of Lonni Martins (Audi R8 LMS GT4 / Team Fullmotorsport #6).

The first Pro-Am, third in Q1 is Arno Santamato also on Audi R8 LMS GT4. Fourth overall and second in Pro-AM is Simon Gachet (Mercedes-AMG / Akkodis ASP #81).

Pole in AM goes to Gwenaël Delomier (Alpine A110 GT4 / CMR #110).

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Qualifying Practice Driver 2

The second qualifying session was marked by the first pole position overall for Enzo Joulié, 17 years old (Mercedes-AMG / Akkodis ASP #87).

The big odds of the day can be attributed to Christophe Hamon, second overall and first AM. Followed by 4 Silver Gael Castelli (Audi R8 LMS GT4 / CSA Racing #111), Sacha Bottemanne (Audi R8 LMS GT4 / Team Fullmotorsport #6, Erwan Bastard (Audi R8 LMS GT4 / Saintéloc Racing # 14) and Stéphane Lemeret (Toyota GR Supra GT4 / CMR #30).

We find in 7th position and poleman in pro-Am Fabien Barthez (Mercedes-AMG / Akkodis ASP #16).

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Race 1

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The first confrontation of the 2022 FFSA GT French Championship met expectations: a lively race, rich in twists and turns.

The tenth will be the first, Nicolas Prost – Rudy Servol (Alpine A110 GT4 – CMR #36).

Making a beautiful stint Nicolas Prost gave the wheel to his teammate Rudy Servol at the start of the driver change window.

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Rudy came up against his opponents to take the lead against Erwan Bastard fifteen minutes from the finish.

The latter having favored category victory rather than wanting to resist the overall standings at all costs.

The Am Cup has some surprises in store.

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Starting from pole position in the category, Gwenaaël Delomier - Guillaume Roman (Alpine A110 GT4 / CMR #110) lost a few places at the end of the race to finish just off the podium.

The brothers Pierre-Arnaud and Jean-Laurent Navarro (Alpine A110 GT4 / JSB Compétition #138) won at the end of the hour of racing, thus honoring the hard work of the team's mechanics who spent a large part of the night repair the car after going off the track twice during free practice.

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Race results by categories

Pro-Am Cup

1 Prost / Servol Alpine A110 GT4 - CMR #36

2 Santamato / Wallgren Audi R8 LMS GT4 - CSA RACING #888

3 Piguet / Varutti Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport - AVR-AVVATAR #10

Silver Cup

1 Meyuhas / Bastard Audi R8 LMS GT4 - SAINTELOC RACING #14

2 Drouet / Evrard Mercedes-AMG GT4 - AKKODIS ASP Team #88

3 Tribaudini / Lemeret Toyota GR Supra GT4 – CMR #30

Am Cup

1 P-A.Navarro / J-L.Navarro Alpine A110 GT4 - JSB Compétition #138

2 Coubard / Rédélé Alpine A110 GT4 - BODEMER AUTO #76

3 Grizaud / Jimenez Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 - GPA Racing #72

Race 2

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Poleman Enzo Joulié reacted quickly when the lights went out to rush into the first corner and take a few steps ahead of his opponents.

Behind, Ricardo van der Ende (BMW M4 GT4 - L'Espace Bienvenue #17) who started from 13th place, put on a show by going up one by one the competitors moving up to the top 5.

Just before the driver change window opened, Paul Paranthoen (Mercedes-AMG GT4 / CD Sport #3) braked at the 'too late' sign at the end of the airport straight hitting Angélique Detavernier (Audi R8 LMS GT4 / CSA Racing #777) and Mathieu Casalonga (Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 / GPA Racing #718) who hadn't asked for anything. The crash caused the safety car and the withdrawal of the Mercedes and the Porsche, only the Belgian driver’s Audi was able to leave.

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Diving into the pit lane even before the Safety Car went on the track, Sacha Bottemanne passed the baton to Lonni Martins.

This one was in the lead after the pit stop window.

Following a speeding in the pitlane the car received a penalty, not respecting this latter (Drive Through) Lonni Martins and Sacha Bottemanne were excluded from the race.

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Hugo Chevalier, who took over from Enzo Joulié, did not wait for this penalty to regain the leadership.

Ricardo van der Ende and Benjamin Lessennes finished their superb comeback in second place, after their spectacular retirement the day before following a mechanical failure.

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Race results by categories

Pro-Am Cup

1 Piguet / Varutti Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport - AVR-AVVATAR #10

2 Santamato / Wallgren Audi R8 LMS GT4 - CSA RACING #888

3 Hasse-Clot / Ricci Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 - Mirage Racing #13

Silver Cup

1 Chevalier / Joulié Mercedes-AMG GT4 - AKKODIS ASP Team #87

2 Lessennes / Van Der Ende BMW M4 GT4 - L'ESPACE BIENVENUE #17

3 Tribaudini / Lemeret Toyota GR Supra GT4 – CMR #30

Am Cup

1 Coubard / Rédélé Alpine A110 GT4 - BODEMER AUTO #76

2 Blanchemain / Hamon Audi R8 LMS GT4 - Full Motorsport #69

3 Grizaud / Jimenez Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 - GPA Racing #72

This inaugural meeting of the 2022 FFSA GT French Championship kept all these promises, wiping out two years of frustration,it is not the more than 28.000 spectators who will say the opposite.

Based on FFSA GT French Championship press report

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