It was another busy weekend with races all over the world. You’ve been able to read about the Le Mans Test Day, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and Pirelli World Challenge races at Detroit Belle Isle circuit and the Hankook 12H Zandvoort in the Netherlands, but there was a lot more action.
In Asia, Super GT and GT Asia Series raced at Autopolis, while over in Europe rounds of the British, French and Italian national GT championships were held.
Here’s a new Sportscar365 Weekend Racing Roundup.
AUTOBACS SUPER GT (GT500)
The third round of the 2014 series was held at Autopolis and it was the No. 23 Motul Autech Nissan GT-R of Tsugio Matsuda and Ronnie Quintarelli that took a lights-to-flag victory.
Quintarelli stayed out until the end of lap 37 before coming into the pits for his stop, after all the other teams had made theirs, and Matsuda returned to the track 15 seconds ahead of the second placed No. 46 S Road MOLA Nissan GT-R.
That lead completely disappeared when the safety car was deployed as a result of a GT300 car crashing through the barrier (more in the GT300 report) and the No. 24 Nissan GT-R of Daiki Sasaki catching fire.
Nine laps later the race was restarted and Matsuda immediately pulled away from the rest of the field. After 65 laps he crossed the line in first place, ahead of No. 46 S Road MOLA Nissan GT-R. The No. 12 Calsonic Impul Nissan GT-R completed a Nissan clean sweep of the podium.
Race – 1. Motul Autech (Quintarelli/Matsuda) Nissan, 2. S Road MOLA (Motoyama/Yanagida) Nissan, 3. Calsonic Impul (De Oliveira/Yasuda) Nissan
AUTOBACS SUPER GT (GT300)
In the previous rounds the GT3 cars were the cars to beat, but at Autopolis the fight for victory was a fight between the No. 55 ARTA Honda CR-Z and the No. 61 Subaru BRZ.
Kota Sasaki in the Subaru took the lead and pulled away from the Honda of Shinichi Takagi, leaving Lucas Ordonez (No. 3 Nissan) and Bjorn Wirdheim (No. 11 Mercedes) behind. The gap between the two leaders was extended to four seconds, before Takagi started a come back. The CR-Z had a quicker pit stop and Takashi Kobayashi returned to the track ahead of the Subaru.
Kobayashi increased his lead, but then Yuki Iwasaki went straight at turn 1 and his Nissan GT-R went through the barrier and ended up on the service road. That and a fire on a GT500 Nissan resulted in a safety car. After the restart the Kobayashi was able to keep Iguchi in the Subaru behind and went on to win the GT300 race.
Race – 1. ARTA CR-Z GT (Takagi/Kobayashi) Honda, 2. Subaru BRZ R&D Sport (Sasaki/Iguchi) Subaru, 3. Gainer Dixcel (Wirdheim/Hiranaka) Mercedes.
GT Asia Series
Joining the Super GT cars at Autopolis were the GT Asia Series teams for round three of their season.
Two races were held in Japan and it was the Clearwater Racing Ferrari of Mok Weng Sun and Keita Sawa that won the first race of the weekend.
Pole-sitter Richard Lyons was passed at the start by Craig Baird, but their lead was cut short when the safety car came out as the pit window opened. During the pit stops Mok Weng Sun was the big winner, returning to the track in the lead.
Hiroshi Hamaguchi in the Clearwater Racing McLaren attacked, but spun off trying to take the lead. Mok Weng Sun went on to win the first race. The Craft-Bamboo Racing Aston Martin Vantage of Lyons and Frank Yu finished in second place, ahead of the Bell/Hamaguchi Clearwater McLaren and the second Craft-Bamboo Racing Aston of Carlo Van Dam and Tanart Sathienthirakul.
In race two Lyons and Yu dominated and crossed the line in first place, ahead of the Clearwater Racing McLaren of Bell and Hamaguchi. However, what the fans around the track witnessed was a different story of what happened in the paddock.
An ‘unsafe release’ during the pit stops had resulted in a drive-through penalty for Lyons and Yu, but two laps after the team was given the penalty a message was shown that it would be sorted after the race. After the race the stewards overturned the decision and fined the Craft-Bamboo Racing team.
That didn’t go well with the other teams and after protests that the team had ignored a black flag the race result was amended, showing the Aston Martin excluded and the Clearwater Racing McLaren taking the win. Clearwater has appealed that decision and the result is still provisional.
Race 1 – 1. Clearwater Racing (Mok Weng Sun/Sawa) Ferrari, 2. Craft-Bamboo Racing (Lyons/Yu) Aston Martin, 3. Clearwater Racing (Bell/Hamaguchi) McLaren.
Race 2 – no official results due to protest.
Avon Tyres British GT Championship
The third round of the 2014 championship was held at Silverstone where the teams competed in the Silverstone 500.
Ahmad Al Harthy and Michael Caine took their second win of the season in the No. 4 Oman Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage, finishing almost a minute ahead of the No. 1 Beechdean AMR Aston of Jonny Adam and reigning champion Andrew Howard.
M-Sport Bentley crossed the line in third place, but the No. 17 Bentley was given a penalty for contact with the No. 79 Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 GT3 of Alexander Sims and Marco Attard. The BMW was promoted to third place.
Joe Osborne showed his pace again, one week after a strong run in the Blancpain Endurance Series at Silverstone. He closed a 47-seconds gap to Caine, set the fastest lap of the race but his efforts went unrewarded when the team Triple Eight BMW was given a drive through for not respecting yellow flags.
Adrian Barwick and Bradley Ellis won the GT4 category with their Twisted Team Parker Ginetta G55 GT4.
Race – 1. Oman Racing Team (Al Harthy/Caine) Aston Martin, 2. Beechdean AMR (Adam/Howard) Aston Martin, 3. Ecurie Ecosse (Sims/Attard) BMW, 17. Twisted Team Parker (Barwick/Ellis) Ginetta GT4
Italian GT Championship
Round two of the Italian GT Championship took place at Monza, the first of two race weekends at the famous Italian circuit this year. Fans in Italy saw two interesting races on Saturday and Sunday, with plenty of action.
On Saturday Alex Frassineti and Piero Necchi won for Team Malucelli, ahead of the Autorlando Porsche and the Scuderia Baldini 27 Ferrari. The Imperiale Racing starte Lamborghini started from pole, but after the pit stops race leader Andrea Amici suffered a puncture and dropped down the order.
Fabio Babini inherited the lead, but contact with Lorenzo Casè meant he also lost the lead. Casè then got a penalty and Necchi took the lead, which he held onto until the finish
On Sunday it was another eventful race with action all over the track and a battle that went all the way to the end. At the end of the race there were three Porsches on the podium, with Ebimotors drivers Donativi and Gagliardini taking the top step, finishing the race ahead of Autorlando’s Beretta and Carboni and Bianco and Babini.
The top three finished within 25 hundredths of a second of each other. Beretta took the lead on the last lap and finished in first place, but as he had done so by cutting the Variante della Roggia he was classified in second position.
Race 1 – 1. Team Malucelli (Frassineti/Necchi) Ferrari, 2. Autorlando (Beretta/Carboni) Porsche, 3. Scuderia Baldini 27 (Giammaria/Casè) Ferrari.
Race 2 – 1. Ebimotors (Donativi/Gagliardini ) Porsche, 2. Autorlando (Beretta/Carboni) Porsche, 3. Autorlando (Bianco/Babini) Porsche.
Championnat de France FFSA GT
The French GT Championship headed out to Ledenon for the second round of the 2014 and in the first race it was the IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche that dominated. Raymond Narac started from pole position and pulled away from the rest of the field, gaining a second per lap.
After handing over the Porsche to Nicolas Armindo during the pit stops the team’s lead was still over ten seconds. A flawless drive by Armindo resulted in a lights-to-flag victory for IMSA Performance Matmut.
Race two saw more domination, but this time for the Sébastien Loeb Racing Audi of Anthony Beltoise and Roland Bervillé. Beltoise started from pole position and he kept Soheil Ayari, Nicolas Armindo and Olivier Panis behind him at the start. As those three battled for position Beltoise focussed on his own race and the Audi was four seconds ahead of Ayari when Beltoise came in to the pits.
Bervillé returned to the track in the lead and held onto it. After 44 laps he crossed the line ahead of the Duqueine Ferrari of Ayari and Police. They were given a 30-second penalty after the race, which promoted David Hallyday and Gregory Guilvert to second place.
Race 1 – 1. IMSA Performance Matmut (Narac/Armindo) Porsche, 2. Team Sofrev ASP (Giauque/Moullin Traffort) Ferrari, 3. Team Sofrev ASP (Debard/Panis) Ferrari.
Race 2 – 1. Sébastien Loeb Racing (Bervillé/Beltoise) Audi, 2. Saintéloc Racing (Hallyday/Guilvert) Audi, 3. Sport Garage (Cayrolle/Santamato) Ferrari.