Sainteloc Sets Out Intentions for GT4 Title Fight
Erwan Bastard and Roee Meyuhas stated their intentions to fight for the GT4 European Series title by taking 10 points out of Lluc Ibanez and Enzo Joulie’s championship lead at the penultimate round of the season.
The Sainteloc Racing Audi pair of Bastard and Meyuas won the second 60-minute race at Hockenheim after finishing ninth in the opener, which was won by NM Racing’s points-leading Mercedes-AMG duo.
However, Ibanez and Joulie retired from Race 2 with a suspected fuel injector failure, meaning that their Silver Cup advantage was reduced to 18 points with two races to go.
The first race started with Ibanez charging from sixth on the grid to third, overcoming a three-place grid drop for overtaking under yellow flags in qualifying.
Benjamin Lariche led the opening stages in Team Speedcar’s Audi R8 LMS GT4, with W&S Motorsport Porsche driver Hendrik Still in second and Ibanez next in line.
Still and Ibanez then fell behind a charging Jim Pla from Akkodis ASP, whose Mercedes-AMG GT4 started outside the top 10.
With a five-second penalty hanging over Lariche’s head for a jump start, Pla’s co-driver Jean-Luc Beaubelique assumed the lead after the pit stops.
Joulie, meanwhile, overtook Still’s co-driver Max Kronberg for second, and duly closed down Am driver Beaubelique before passing for the win at the Sachs hairpin. The arrival of heavy rainfall prompted a safety car that halted the race and certified NM Racing’s victory.
Bastard and Meyuhas didn’t feature in the Race 1 battle, however their form improved in the second race which they won from pole.
Bastard made a strong start in front of Team Speedcar’s Robert Consani, and remained ahead despite almost losing control of his Audi when he came across a patch of coolant that had been deposited by a damaged Aston Martin Vantage GT4.
The Sainteloc driver went on to establish a 10-second lead, but this was erased by a safety car period. Bastard managed to restore eight of those seconds before handing over to Meyuhas who started coming under pressure from Consani’s partner Lariche.
A late safety car added to the drama, however Mehuyas managed to keep Lariche at bay to secure a 25-point haul against a no-score for NM Racing’s Ibanez and Joulie.
Other Racing Action
***The penultimate round of the Italian GT Sprint Championship took place at Imola where Imperiale Racing and Antonelli Motorsport shared the spoils. Lamborghini squad Imperiale won the opening race through Stuart Middleton and Alberto di Folco, who leapfrogged the Ceccatto Racing BMW M4 GT3 during the pit window. Kikko Galbiati and Matteo Cressoni then won Race 2 in a Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, beating Leonardo Moncini and Jacopo Guidetti from the Nova Race Honda team. Race 1 / Race 2
***Grid Motorsport claimed victory in the five-hour Super Taikyu race at Motegi with its Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo driven by Daisuke Yamawaki, Shaun Thong, Martin Berry and Shinichi Takagi. The winning car finished 11 seconds ahead of the second-placed Daishin Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3. Results
***FAW Audi Racing’s Cheng Congfu and Chris Chia won all four of last weekend’s China GT Championship races at the Ningbo double-header round to extend their lead in the GT3 standings. Race 1 / Race 2 / Race 3 / Race 4
***Over at Zhuhai, the China-based GT Super Sprint Challenge held its third round of the season. ‘Rio’ won both races behind the wheel of his Uno Racing Audi and finished ahead of Climax Racing Mercedes-AMG driver Hu Yu Qi on both occasions. Cheng has taken the lead in Audi Sport Asia’s internal driver competition, with ‘Rio’ in second. Race 1 / Race 2
News & Notes
***Multimatic recently ran a Mazda RT24-P DPi car through the newly-opened Catesby Tunnel aerodynamic facility, situated in a former railway tunnel in the U.K. Andy Priaulx conducted 120 mph straight-line evaluations through the 1.67-mile structure, which is an alternative to the conventional wind tunnel technique of blowing wind over a stationary vehicle. The tunnel was opened in 1898 but closed to trains in 1966. It is now owned by Aero Research Partners.
***Beechdrean AMR team owner Andrew Howard will partner Chris Froggatt in Sky-Tempesta Racing’s British GT appearance at Brands Hatch this weekend. As was the case at the opening two rounds when Froggatt teamed up with Kevin Tse, the Sky-Tempesta Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo is being run by 2 Seas Motorsport.
***This weekend’s International GT Open round at the Red Bull Ring features a handful of new Mercedes-AMG entries. Single-seater outfit Motopark is running one car for Timo Rumpfkeil and Heiko Neumann. Antonelli Motorsport has committed with Florian Scholze and team boss Marco Antonelli, while Equipe Vitesse joins with Mario Hirsch and Dominik Schraml.
***The TBA slot on next year’s Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires schedule has been filled with the confirmation of a round at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Rounds 5 and 6 will take place at the California circuit on May 12-14, as part of the IMSA support bill.
***The previously unnamed back straight at Lime Rock Park has been christened the ‘Paul Newman Straight’ to honor the late actor, racing driver and team owner. It was unveiled during a ceremony held at the Historic Festival 40 presented by Corvette event.
***Absolute Racing has entered a Porsche 911 GT3 R into the Thailand Super Series round that supports the Singapore Grand Prix next month. Local racer Yuey Tan will drive the SLK Racing-entered Porsche.
***Several sports car racing stars feature on the entry list for the Goodwood Revival Meeting on Sep. 16-18. Big names in the St. Mary’s Trophy for 1960s saloon cars include Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer, Marcel Fassler, Neel Jani, Brendon Hartley, Tom Kristensen, Emanuele Pirro, Rinaldo Capello and Jean-Eric Vergne. NASCAR star and part-time IMSA DPi driver Jimmie Johnson is also taking part, driving a 1963 Ford Galaxie.
On this weekend: FIA World Endurance Championship (Fuji), DTM (Spa-Francorchamps), 24H Series (24H Barcelona), NLS Round 6 (Nürburgring), International GT Open (Red Bull Ring), Intelligent Money British GT Championship (Brands Hatch)