Rodolphe Wallgren and Gael Castelli won the first race in the 2017 GT4 European Series Southern Cup opener at Nogaro in Team Speed Car’s No. 444 Ginetta G55 GT4.
When the lights went green, polesitter Alain Ferte enjoyed a strong start aboard the No. 4 Energy by ART-entered Porsche Cayman Clubsport MR GT4, while Wallgren edged past Vic Team’s No. 64 Porsche driven by Olivier Jouffret.
Ferte quickly opened a comfortable gap up front, but the battling duo behind continued to lock horns over the entire first stint.
Jouffret re-claimed P2 but Wallgren kept him on his toes all the way to the start of the mandatory pit stop window after 25 minutes, when he dived into the pits in order to hand over the wheel to Castelli.
Speed Car’s strategy paid off since the No. 444 car vaulted itself back to second place. Castelli picked up the pace and started closing in on Gregoire Demoustier, who had taken over from Ferte for Energy by ART.
The Ginetta soon reeled in the race-leading No. 4 Porsche and found a way past for the top spot with 18 minutes left on the clock.
While Castelli pulled away and sped to take the checkered flag, Demoustier saw Mike Parisy’s No. 30 Porsche looming large in his mirrors.
The CD Sport racer eventually overtook the No. 4 car to cap a nice recovery, which had begun with team-mate Gilles Vannelet’s strong opening stint from 10th on the grid.
The No. 64 Porsche of Jouffret and Eric Tremoulet eventually slipped down to fourth at the flag, while Eric Clement and Romain Iannetta completed the top five in the No. 19 TFT Racing-run Porsche.
In the French FFSA GT AM/AM Championship, the Lamic brothers – Paul and Jean-Philippe – seemed to have everything under control from fifth in the Overall classification until a late off promoted Georges Cabanne and Fabien Michal to victory in the No. 666 CMR Ginetta.
Race 2 is scheduled for 2 p.m. local time on Monday.
RESULTS: Race 1