Mike Parisy and Gilles Vannelet (No. 30 CD Sport Porsche Cayman Clubsport MR GT4) are the 2017 GT4 European Series Southern Cup champions in the Pro-Am category after a thrilling season finale at Circuit Paul Ricard.
The final race of the season was won by Las Moras Racing Team’s No. 99 McLaren 570S GT4, as Max Braams and Duncan Huisman made it two victories from two contests at Circuit Paul Ricard.
Meanwhile, Stephane Tribaudini has won the AM title in style, as he and crew-mate Michael Petit secured two class wins in as many races for the No. 111 Classic & Modern Racing Ginetta G55 GT4.
Speed Car has sealed the Teams’ Pro-Am championship, while CMR had already claimed the AM honours two weeks earlier in Barcelona.
Pole sitter Julien Piguet (BMW Team France) led the pack away at the start with the No. 9 BMW Ekris M4 GT4, as Mike Parisy vaulted the No. 30 Porsche up to second place ahead of Duncan Huisman.
The CD Sport ace’s advantage would not last for long though, as the No. 99 McLaren quickly reclaimed P2, with Ekris Motorsport’s Ricardo van der Ende also deposing Parisy with the No. 888 Ekris M4 GT4.
Further back, Speed Car’s No. 8 championship-leading Ginetta was trapped on the opening lap when Benjamin Lariche, who had started from 10th on the grid, was caught out by a clash between CMR’s Soheil Ayari and CD Sport’s Morgan Moullin Traffort ahead of him.
Not only did Lariche fell out of the points-paying positions, his Ginetta also picked up damage on the front left.
At that time, things were starting to look pretty good for CD Sport but the 2017 campaign was destined to go right down to the wire.
Parisy soon found himself on the back foot when Greg Guilvert (No. 69 Sainteloc Racing Porsche), Jim Pla (No. 1 Racing Technology Cayman), and Ander Vilariño (No. 2 TFT Racing Porsche) whizzed past the No. 30 Cayman in quick succession.
Parisy hung on to maintain his ailing car within the top 10, as it had to score points regardless of the No. 8 Ginetta’s result. Indeed, there might have been a two-way tie entering Race 2, Lariche and crew-mate Robert Consani had the edge on countback.
Taking over from Parisy was Gilles Vannelet, with CD Sport team members anxiously looking at the timing screens to check whether the experienced racer could match his direct rivals’ pace with a suboptimal machine. They started breathing a sigh of relief when Vannelet’s lap times showed he had enough speed to hold his ground.
Out in front, Piguet rounded up his strong opening stint in the lead but the No. 9 BMW had not been able to shake off the #99 McLaren, nor the No. 888 Ekris.
All three cars stopped at the same time and while Piguet’s team-mate Fred Johais kept the top spot as he headed back out on track, Max Braams was soon on the move.
The Las Moras driver eventually found a way past, and so did Henry Hassid on the No. 18 Martinet By Alméras-run Porsche he shares with Steven Palette.
Braams managed the gap to the chasing Cayman over the second half of the race to make it two consecutive wins for Dutch outfit Las Moras Racing Team at Circuit Paul Ricard, while fellow GT4 European Series Northern Cup entrants Max Koebolt-Ricardo van der Ende completed the podium positions with the #888 Ekris.
Piguet-Johais crossed the line just outside the top three, ahead of Parisy-Vannelet, whose fifth-place finish handed the CD Sport pairing the 2017 GT4 European Series Southern Cup title.
Stephane Tribaudini capped his breakthrough 2017 campaign in style to wrap up the AM French FFSA GT title with another class win for the No. 111 Ginetta he has shared with Michael Petit from Nevers Magny-Cours onwards.
The CMR duo made it two from two in the south of France, having already claimed Race 1 on Saturday.
Making its racing debut in Europe this weekend, Ford Performance’s No. 46 Ford Mustang GT4 further showed its strong potential when Scott Maxwell claimed pole position for Race 2.