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Weekend Racing Roundup, 5.4

Catch up on the weekend’s sports car action from around the world…

Photo Marc De Mattia / DPPI

Photo Marc De Mattia / DPPI

This week’s Sportscar365 Weekend Racing Roundup features racing from France, the UK, Italy, Japan and the US. GT and sports cars were competing at Le Mans, Rockingham, Vallelunga, Fuji Speedway and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

French GT Championship
The Le Mans Bugatti circuit hosted three races of the French GT Championship, the one-hour races hit by very bad weather in the Le Mans area.

Sport Garage won the first race, which started behind the safety car due to wet conditions. Stephane Lemeret retained the lead from pole position, Eric Cayrolle increased the lead during his stint and Arno Santamato further extended it, eventually finishing 46 seconds clear of the second placed car.

Race 2 was another wet race. The race started behind the safety car, which pulled in after one lap, but before the halfway point of the race it had been out twice again. After the final round of stops Team Duqueine’s Dino Lunardi pulled away, securing the team’s first win of the season.

The third race at Le Mans was held on a dry circuit and saw Sport Garage claiming victory for the second time. Soheil Ayari, Nicolas Tardif and Maxime Pialat finished in first place in an eventful final race of the weekend. Race 1 winners Lemeret, Cayrolle and Santamato made it a Sport Garage 1-2.

Race 1 — 1. Sport Garage (Lemeret/Cayrolle/Santamato) Ferrari, 2. Sport Garage (Samon/Soave/Guibbert) Ferrari, 3. Team AKKA ASP (Moullin-Traffort/Beaubelique/Giauque) Ferrari.

Race 2 — 1. Team Duqueine (Lunardi/Strazzer/Brandela) Ferrari, 2. Team AKKA ASP (Panis/Barthez/Debard) Ferrari, 3. Sport Garage (Lemeret/Cayrolle/Santamato) Ferrari.

Race 3 — 1. Sport Garage (Ayari/Tardif/Pialat) Ferrari, 2. Sport Garage (Lemeret/Cayrolle/Santamato) Ferrari, 3 Strategic Courage Racing System (Misslin/Bottemanne/Lariche) Porsche.

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Photo: Jakob Ebrey Photography

Avon Tyres British GT Championship
Ecurie Ecosse drivers Marco Attard and Alexander Sims secured victory in an action-packed two-hour Avon Tyres British GT Championship race at Rockingham. Attard lost the lead early in the race, but retook it after a safety car period and was still leading when he came into the pits to hand over to Sims.

After serving a ten-second success penalty Sims rejoined in second place, behind the Oman Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage of Daniel Lloyd. Sims put in a number of fastest lap times to close the gap to Lloyd. The Aston Martin driver defended well, but eventually lost the fight and Sims retook the lead. Despite another safety car period he held on and won the race.

Race — 1. Ecurie Ecosse (Attard/Sims) BMW, 2. Oman Racing Team (Al Harthy/Lloyd) Aston Martin, 3. Oman Racing Team (Griffin/Butcher) Aston Martin.

Photo: Italian GT Championship

Photo: Italian GT Championship

Italian GT Championship
The Italian GT Championship got underway this weekend at the Vallelunga circuit, with one race on Saturday and a second on Sunday.

Ombra Racing drivers Alex Frassineti and Matteo Beretta and their Ferrari 458 Italia became the first winners of the 2015 season, finishing race 1 over three seconds ahead of the Scuderia Villorba Corse Ferrari and almost six seconds clear of the Imperiale Racing Lamborghini Gallardo GT3.

On Sunday the Ombra Racing Ferrari played no part in the race, that finished with Ferrari entries sweeping the podium. Scuderia Bandini drivers Lorenzo Case and Stefano Gattuso were 1.662 seconds ahead of the BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari and the Scuderia Villorba Ferrari.

Race 1 — 1. Ombra SRL (Frassineti/Beretta) Ferrari, 2. Scuderia Villorba Corse (Schiro;/Berton), 3. Imperiale Racing (Bortolotti/Viberti) Lamborghini.

Race 2 — 1. Scuderia Baldini (Case/Gattuso) Ferrari, 2. BMS Scuderia Italia (Lucchini/Venturi) Aston Martin, 3. Scuderia Villorba Corse (Schiro;/Berton) Ferrari.

Photo: Nissan NISMO

Photo: Nissan NISMO

Super GT (GT300)
Round 2 of the 2015 Super GT was held at the Fuji Speedway. The No. 10 Gainer Tanax Nissan GT-R of Andre Couto, Katsumasa Chiyo and Ryuichiro Tomita, which had started the race from third on the grid was on the pace right from the start and took the lead in the middle part of the race. It would eventually finish 38.375 seconds clear of the second placed car. The No. 3 B-MAX NNDP Nissan GT-R won a three-way battle for second place with Mercedes and Toyota, completing a Nissan 1-2. For the Gainer team it was the first win with the Nissan GT-R. Despite being entered on the car, Tomita did not compete in the race itself.

Race – 1. Gainer Tanax (Couto/Chiyo/Tomita) Nissan, 2. B-MAX NDDP (Hoshino/Takaboshi) Nissan, 3. Gainar Tanax (Hiranaka/Wirdheim) Mercedes

Photo: Photo: Al Merion Padron

Photo: Al Merion Padron

Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup
John Dean II and Patrick Gallagher split the victories at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in a pair of entertaining races in the Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup series.

Gallagher dominated both races, but saw a weekend sweep escape him in the closing moments of Saturday’s Round 5. Fighting a late-race gearbox issue, Gallagher lost the lead exiting Turn 11 with four laps to go and Dean swept through en route to his second win of the season.

Come Sunday’s Round 6, with the addition of 20 NASA Champions from 2014 to make a 47-car field, Gallagher finally had both the luck and speed needed in order to secure his elusive first win of the year. Gallagher led an Atlanta Motorsports Group 1-2 ahead of Peter Portante, who banked his second podium of the weekend, with Drake Kemper third following a last-lap pass of Dean for the final podium spot.

Race 1 — 1. Sick Sideways Racing (John Dean II), 2. Atlanta Motorsports Group (Patrick Gallagher), 3. Atlanta Motorsports Group (Peter Portante)

Race 2 — 1. Atlanta Motorsports Group (Patrick Gallagher), 2. Atlanta Motorsports Group (Peter Portante), 3. Sick Sideways Racing (Drake Kemper)

Marcel ten Caat (@marceltencaat) is a contributor to Sportscar365 and other publications including Autosport.nl.

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