BMW Team France capped a perfect Saturday at Circuit Nevers Magny-Cours, as pole sitter Frederic Johais and teammate Julien Piguet claimed Race 1 to register their maiden GT4 European Series Southern Cup win of the season with the No. 9 BMW M4 GT4.
Second-placed Robert Consani and Benjamin Lariche also had reasons to smile in the No. 8 Speed Car-entered Ginetta G55 GT4, as they took the Pro-Am points lead from Gilles Vannelet and Mike Parisy, who had to settle for sixth in the No. 30 CD Sport Porsche Cayman Clubsport GT4 MR.
When the lights turned green, pole sitter Johais was immediately overhauled by Consani’s nimble Ginetta but the BMW Team France ace’s engine power meant he was able to reclaim the lead by the Adelaide hairpin.
Behind the leading duo, there were battles galore, especially in the points-paying positions where all five manufacturers racing in the Pro-Am category – Aston Martin, BMW, Ginetta, McLaren, and Porsche – featured.
Johais delivered a strong opening stint to open the gap on Consani and pave the way for team-mate Piguet, who took over during the mandatory pit stop window.
Once the pits closed, nothing had changed at the front but it did not take long before Soheil Ayari, who had succeeded Nicolas Tardif aboard the No. 26 Ginetta to reel in the top two cars.
When a Full Course Yellow and subsequent Safety Car period bunched the field close together again, the CMR driver looked primed to launch an attack on the overall victory.
However, the race would not restart due to a technical issue on track. The unscheduled ending should not take anything away from BMW Team France, which has been showing impressive performance at the former French Grand Prix venue since the start of the weekend.
Despite their strong pace, Ayari-Tardif had to settle for the third rung of the rostrum behind Lariche-Consani.
Energy By ART’s No. 4 Porsche of Gregoire Demoustier and Alain Ferte finished fourth ahead of Eric Tremoulet and Olivier Jouffret in the No. 64 Vic’Team-run Cayman.
Parisy-Vannelet crossed the line in sixth, while Stephane Tribaudini and Michael Petit combined for a solid seventh place overall, which also amounts to the A, class win.
In the Am FFSA GT championship, it was a race to forget for former points leader Paul and Jean-Philippe Lamic as the No. 54 Vic’Team Ginetta was forced into retirement after it was hit at the rear by another car. The mishap has promoted Tribaudini into the Am points lead.
RESULTS: Race 1