With such a beautiful diversity of brands and the presence of prestigious teams, the starting grid of the Endurance GT Touring Challenge by KENNOL looked impressive this Sunday morning at the Paul Ricard Circuit.
In this late November period, the weather was indeed mild since the start of the weekend, but the temperatures were particularly cool, with the mercury timidly hovering around 5°C on the grid. The warming of the Michelin tires played a crucial role, and poleman Derek Deboer learned this the hard way. The driver of the Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 No.10 from Racing Spirit of Léman found himself overtaken by several drivers, notably Amaury Bonduel.
Author of a thunderous start at the wheel of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo No.77 from BDR Competition Grupo Prom, the Belgian found himself leading the race, followed by a certain Sébastien Loeb, who battled in the pack to climb from 9th to 2nd position in just a few minutes aboard the Renault RS01 No.9 from Krafft Racing. The nine-time World Rally Champion even finished the first hour at the top of the hierarchy before handing over the wheel to his teammates Laurène Godey and Grégory Launier.
The first pit stops are often the result of strategies implemented by different teams to position themselves at the forefront in the final hour. In this game, the perfect mastery of the discipline tipped the balance in favor of Team Visiom, allowing the champions of the UGT3A championship, David Hallyday, Jean-Paul Pagny, and Jean-Bernard Bouvet, to triumph after completing 106 laps during the 4-hour race at Le Castellet.
The trio of the Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo No.1 did not have an easy task on Sunday given the adversity faced by their rivals in the top category. Franck Dezoteux, teamed up with his children Henri and Simon, could believe in their chances of victory for a long time before a collision with the Lamborghini No.77 damaged the right front of the Ferrari 488 GT3 No.52 from AF Corse. The Dezoteux family finished on the second step of the podium, securing a double for the Prancing Horse.
Starting from the pole position, Derek Deboer, Florent Grizaud, and Erwan Bastard completed the podium for the Racing Spirit of Léman’s Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 No.10.
In the Porsche Cup category, Julien Froment, Joffrey Dorchy, and Mathieu Martins asserted their dominance, securing their fifth victory in six races at the wheel of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup ‘992’ and confirming their overall team championship title for Martinet by Alméras. They finished with a 21.8-second lead over the duo formed by Benjamin Paque and Stéphane Perrin in the No.888 Porsche from Seb Lajoux Racing.
With 9 places gained in just a few turns, Xavier Pompidou was one of the standout performers at the start of the race. The XP Racing Ferrari 488 Challenge No.74 crew, completed by Roland Marchix and Philippe Papin, then faced setbacks that forced them to retire. Against them, Philippe Bonnel, Miguel Moiola, and Cyril Calmon did not ask for more to take the lead and impose the Vortex No.701.
After leading the first laps of the race thanks to an excellent start by Amaury Bonduel, the Lamborghini Super Trofeo No.77, also driven by Alfredo Hernandez, was unable to remain one of the contenders for victory in the overall standings. The drivers from BDR Competition Grupo Prom. The two, in their first endurance race of the season with this car, took the honors in UGT3A2.
The UGTC4A category was particularly contested on Sunday morning, but victory went, for the fifth time this season, to the BMW M4 GT4 No.17 from L’Espace Bienvenue, operated by Racetivity, with the 2023 champion Daniel Waszcinski, accompanied by Benjamin Lessennes. With the 2nd place of the Germans, Tim Rölleke and Tudor Tudurachi, for WS Racing, who came to discover the Ultimate Cup Series European, it’s a double for the BMW M4 GT4.
Despite a second-place finish in the UGTC4B category, Julien Lemoine secured the long-awaited title at the wheel of the ANS Motorsport Ligier JS2 R No.42.