DKR Engineering and Cool Racing took a victory and a second place each across the two Road to Le Mans races held at the Circuit de la Sarthe on Friday and Saturday.
Laurents Hoerr and Jean Glorieux won Friday’s opening 60-minute contest for DKR after a late overtake to beat the No. 37 Cool Racing Ligier JS P320 Nissan of Nicolas Maulini and Edouard Cauhaupe, which then went on to dominate Saturday’s encounter.
Matt Bell and Maurice Smith finished third on both occasions, as the top three cars in the Michelin Le Mans Cup points starred in the series’ headline event of the season.
Wayne Boyd started Race 1 from pole and led the opening stint in his United Autosports Ligier, while Maulini rose from fourth on the grid to second, including passing Glorieux who was on the front row of the grid.
The Cool Racing driver then dropped one of the positions he had gained as David Droux got past in the No. 4 Realteam Racing Duqueine D08 Nissan.
Droux’s entry gained another spot during the pit window to lead with the Realteam Duqueine now in the hands of Esteban Garcia, with Boyd’s co-driver John Schauerman in second ahead of Cauhaupe and Hoerr.
Cauhaupe in the Cool Racing Ligier and Hoerr in the DKR Duqueine quickly overtook both cars ahead of them to set up a chase to the checkered flag.
Hoerr brought the gap down in the remaining laps and overtook Cauhaupe near the end of the final tour to win by half a second.
Bell and Smith’s Ligier came through in third for Cool Racing, while United Autosports Ligiers finished formed the rest of the top five.
Saturday’s race, which was held under overcast skies in contrast to Friday’s clear weather, started under the safety car with the track still slippery from earlier rainfall.
The safety car was extended over two laps following an accident under the slower conditions for the Pzoberer Zurichsee by TFT Porsche 911 GT3 R just past the pit exit.
When the race got going on lap three Maulini controlled the single-file restart to lead away from Glorieux and Rory Penttinen in the No. 26 Graff Ligier.
Glorieux then pitted after just one racing lap to hand the DKR Duqueine over to Hoerr, but the undercut attempt had no huge effect as Hoerr emerged two seconds behind Cauhaupe once the Cool car had come in for its driver swap.
Cauhaupe maintained the gap over the second half of the race to win by 2.7 seconds from Hoerr, who was in turn six seconds clear of Bell in the other Cool Ligier at the finish.
Penttinen’s co-drier Mathias Kaiser lost two positions in the second stint, first to Bell and then to Colin Noble who got around the Graff Ligier on the run down to the Indianapolis kink in the No. 7 Nielsen Racing Duqueine.
Malthe Jakobsen finished sixth behind Kaiser for RLR MSport after an entertaining back-and-forth battle with MV2S Racing’s Bruce Jouanny.
FFF Lamborghini Doubles Up in GT3
Andrea Caldarelli and Hiroshi Hamaguchi claimed a sweep of the GT3 honors in their FFF Racing Team by ACM Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.
The GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS regulars dominated Race 1 to win by 16 seconds, while Caldarelli needed to defend his lead in the closing stages of Race 2 from a charging David Perel in the No. 74 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020.
Perel had a look into the first part of the Ford chicane on the final lap but was too far back to challenge Caldarelli, who went on to cross the line just half a second ahead.
Fellow GTWC Europe competitors Chris Froggatt and Jonathan Hui finished third in their Sky-Tempesta Racing Ferrari, beating another Kessel car and a trio of Iron Lynx machines.
Rino Mastronardi and Giacomo Piccini finished second in Friday’s contest with their No. 8 Iron Lynx Ferrari, as Perel and Michael Broniszewski completed the top-three.