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Blancpain Endurance Series Paul Ricard 2014

27th - 28th June 2014

Event report by Raymond Bonnello

Blancpain Endurance Series 2014 – third round - Circuit Paul Ricard – France

For this third round of BES we are on the Circuit Paul Ricard located in the south of France. Inaugurated on April 19th, 1970 the circuit Paul Ricard, 5.791 km in length, includes the Mistral straight 1.8 Km long and 13 turns.

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Free Practice - Friday, June 27th

At 11:20 AM, It's for a free practice session of 90 minutes that 42 cars took the track. The beginning of the session saw Nissan’s drivers Katsumaso Chiyo (#35) and Alex Buncombe (#80) of the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN on top of the tables. After this hour and a half of confrontation, Cedric Mezard (Ferrari 458 Italia - #91 - Scuderia Villorba Corse) Gentlemen Trophy, Franck Perera (Porsche 997 GT3 R - #93 - Pro GT by Almeras ) Pro-Am and Christopher Mies (Audi R8 LMS Ultra # 3 - Belgian Audi Club Team WRT) proved to be the fastest in their respective categories.

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Qualifying Session - Saturday, June 28th

It is with the time of 1:57.198 that Alvaro Parente (McLaren MP4-12C #98 - ART Grand Prix) takes the pole position (second of the season). In PRO-AM Catsburg (BMW Z4 # 12 - Thiriet by TDS Racing) takes the best lap with a time of 1:57.643 the third absolute time. Guedes (Ferrari 458 Italia #51 - AF Corse) in 1:58.875 achieved the pole position in Gentleman category.

Following the decision of the stewards on cars #8 (M-Sport Bentley), #80 (Nissan GT Academy Team RJN), #99 (McLaren ART Grand Prix), #25 (Audi Sainteloc Racing), #79 (BMW Ecurie Ecosse) and #49 (Ferrari AF Corse), the starting grid has been disrupted.

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Race - Saturday, June 28th (start at 19.15)

New victory of the Bentley boys Guy Smith, Andy Meyrick and Steven Kane (Bentley Continental GT3 #7 - M-Sport Bentley), after Silverstone, in this race, of three hours, in semi-night time. They precede the polemens, Greg Demoustier, Nicolas Lapierre and Alvaro Parente (McLaren MP4-12C #98 - ART Grand Prix) of 1.178 seconds after 88 laps. 11 competitors are in the same lap as the winner. The third step of the podium is for Wolf-Afanasiev-Dusseldorp (Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 #85 - HTP Motorsport)

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If we do not find any Audi R8 LMS Ultra on top 4, this is probably due to a lack of speed. The best one was the # 26 of Saintéloc Racing Ortelli, Guilvert and Sandström, 5th to 50s head. Ran by a dry but windy weather under a temperature of 20°, this race allowed us to attend beautiful fights. The end of the night race provided us a spectacle worthy of the 24 hours of Spa.(The rain less).

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In PRO-AM Nick Catsburg and Henry Hassid (BMW Z4 # 12 - Thiriet by TDS Racing) won the PROAM category. Gentlemen Trophy was won by Frank Smickler, Alexander Mattschull and Pierre Ehret (Ferrari 458 Italia #458 - GT Corse by Rinaldi) with a gap of 2 laps. Of 42 cars started 36 was classified, which proves the professionalism of all the teams presented Blancpain Endurance Series.

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Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo

In support at the BES a round of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo was organized. This trophy was the only race support of this meeting. Two races of 50 minutes that saw more than 26 cars on the track. Cars are Gallardo LP 570-4 Super Tropheo.

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To conclude

The Blancpain Endurance Series offers gripping races with fight in all categories. 10 manufacturers were represented at Paul Ricard for this third round. The GT3 has reached a level of maturity that allows them to be reliable and efficient. I'll be still present next year on the races of Blancpain series. And you ?

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Bonus

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