NM Racing, CMR Take GT4 Europe Wins in France
NM Racing and CMR shared out the spoils at Paul Ricard where the third and fourth races of the 2021 GT4 European Series season played out last weekend.
Lluc Ibanez and Xavier Lloveras gave NM Racing its third consecutive victory at the French circuit in race one, before Stephane Lemeret and Antoine Potty headed up a CMR one-two in the second encounter, with their Toyota GR Supra GT4 leading home the sister Alpine A110 GT4 of Loris Cabirou and Vincent Beltoise.
Lemeret tailed race one pole-sitter Ibanez through the opening stint, but the Mercedes-AMG GT4 driver held firm before shifting the lead on to his co-driver Lloveras.
Despite a late charge from Potty, Lloveras held on to cross the line just under a second ahead of the Toyota. Monza winners Bailey Voisin and Charlie Fagg were third in their United Autosports McLaren 570S GT4.
In race two on Sunday, Potty ran third initially behind Jim Pla’s AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG and Gregory Guilvert’s Sainteloc Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4, but the Silver Cup competitor in CMR’s Toyota managed to split the leading Pro-Am pair after several laps.
The GR Supra remained second after the pit stops, but Lemeret quickly caught and made what would be a race-winning overtake on Pla’s co-driver Jean-Luc Beabelique.
Guilvert’s teammate Fabian Michal also got past Beaubelique and was on course for second until Beltoise charged through on the penultimate lap to seal an eclectic CMR one-two.
Oregon Wraps Paul Ricard Super Trofeo Double
Kevin Gilardoni and Leonardo Pulcini claimed a brace of victories in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe round at Paul Ricard.
Time penalties were applied to the on-the-road winner at end of both 50-minute races. The first demoted Jonathan Cecotto and Kevin Rossel to second, handing the win Gilardoni and Pulcini.
Race two saw Pulcini receive a three-second time penalty for overtaking Noah Watt for the lead outside track limits at Turn 2, but Gilardoni managed to create a large enough gap over the remainder to secure a sweep of the top silverware.
Gilardoni ran eighth in the opening stint of race one, but an early pit stop enabled Pulcini to launch an offensive on warm tires and gain several positions.
Cecotto, meanwhile, emerged from the pits in third and duly dispatched Watt and race leader Andrzej Lewandowski to take the checkered flag first, only to be shuffled behind Pulcini upon the application of a five-second penalty for an infringement at the start.
Cecotto and Rossel, driving for GSM Racing, battled for second in race two with Sebastian Balthasar until Rossel ran wide at the Beausset right-hander and lost a position.
Balthasar himself lost second to a Glenn van Berlo lunge at Virage du Pont, only for van Berlo to tangle with a backmarker later on. This allwed Max Weering to snatch second from Cecotto and Rossel, who slipped to fourth with a time penalty for undercutting the minimum pit time.
The jockeying for the remaining podium spots enabled Gilardoni to break clear for the win despite the time penalty.
News & Notes
***Reigning FIA World Endurance GT champion Marco Sorensen will make his first race appearance since that title-winning campaign in the Silverstone British GT round, driving one of two TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3s. The Dane is with ex-WEC driver Bonamy Grimes, while Charlie Eastwood and Giacomo Petrobelli form the other duo.
***Grimes was at Silverstone last weekend and won both Sports Prototype Cup races in a Duqueine D08 Nissan LMP3. The BARC-organised meeting was headlined by a 24-hour race for Citroen C1s that attracted a 58-car grid.
***Niccolo Schiro won both Ferrari Challenge Europe races that made up round three of the season at Brno. Michelle Gatting retained her points lead by placing second and third.
***The 2021 China GT Championship season-opener was due to take place at Ningbo last weekend, but had to be called off following the Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Sports of China’s immediate suspension of all Chinese racing activities until further notice. The ruling came after the deaths of 21 participants in an ultramarathon mountain race on May 23, according to Touring Car Times.
***After last week’s announcement that fans will be allowed back into the IMSA paddock at Detroit next weekend, Road America has confirmed the same for its round of the WeatherTech Championship and support series on Aug. 5-8.
***FFSA French GT has announced a new Sept. 10-12 date for its Ledenon fixture. It was moved from the last weekend of August due to a clash with the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS round at Brands Hatch, which is also run by SRO.
***French sports car racing publication Endurance-Info celebrated its 15th anniversary last Wednesday. Sportscar365 sends its congratulations to Laurent Mercier and everyone who has been involved in the website’s growth since its launch in 2006.
On this weekend: Nürburgring 24 (Nürburgring), Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS, GT America, Pirelli GT4 America (all Virginia International Raceway), European Le Mans Series, Michelin Le Mans Cup (both Paul Ricard)