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GPX Porsche Overcomes FFF to Win Paul Ricard 1000km

GPX Porsche wins Paul Ricard 1000km after Campbell’s double pass on Mapelli…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

Matt Campbell, Earl Bamber and Mathieu Jaminet won the Paul Ricard 1000km for GPX Racing after a final-hour change of lead with the Orange 1 FFF Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo that controlled most of the six-hour race.

Campbell executed a pair of overtakes on Marco Mapelli at the fast Signes right-hander to get the No. 22 Porsche 911 GT3 R ahead of the No. 63 Lamborghini that led the first five hours and 20 minutes of Saturday’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup round.

Mapelli, who teamed up with fellow Lamborghini factory drivers Andrea Caldarelli and Mirko Bortolotti, led by a couple of seconds out of the final pit stops but was reeled in by Campbell who drafted past on the Mistral Straight with just over 40 minutes to go.

However, the Australian ran wide at the Beausset right-hander, enabling Mapelli to sneak up the inside with a touch between the pair. Campbell then returned to Mapelli’s tail and asserted himself in front on the next lap, around the outside into Signes.

Campbell took the checkered flag ahead of Antonio Fuoco, who snatched second from Mapelli up the inside at Signes in the closing stages. The No. 71 Iron Lynx Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 that Fuoco shared with Callum Ilott and Davide Rigon was ultimately demoted to fifth in the classification for a pit lane infringement at its final stop.

Dries Vanthoor passed Mapelli on the last lap to initially secure the final podium spot for the No. 32 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo that was also driven by Kelvin van der Linde and Charles Weerts. This turned into second upon the Ferrari’s time penalty.

The sanction enabled Orange 1 FFF Racing Team to claim a podium in consolation for missing out on the race win.

Alessandro Pier Guidi, Nicklas Nielsen and Come Ledogar took fourth ahead of their Iron Lync teammates to claim a second straight double top-five result for the Italian team.

The best-placed Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo was the No. 88 AKKA-ASP entry of Daniel Juncadella, Jules Gounon and Raffaele Marciello in sixth.

FFF Racing Team commanded the second round of the Endurance Cup season but couldn’t convert its pole position into a first victory since the 2019 round at Barcelona.

The team’s lead was cut by a safety car with two hours to go. Caldarelli successfully negotiated the restart but his Lamborghini’s built-up advantage, which had risen to 12 seconds by the halfway point, was facing a greater threat from the competitors behind.

FFF had already been coming under pressure from the GPX Porsche when Jaminet passed Ilott and Walkenhorst Motorsport’s Marco Wittmann to reach second during the third hour, before reducing the lead gap to around six seconds prior to the safety car for a stranded Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

GPX experienced a superficial setback at the penultimate round of stops under the FCY-safety car interruption when its Porsche became boxed in by an Audi, enabling Walkenhorst’s No. 34 BMW M6 GT3 to reclaim second.

Campbell, who had taken over from Jaminet for a double-stint to the flag, responded by overtaking Wittmann’s co-driver Sheldon van der Linde into Turn 1 before setting his sights on Mapelli.

The win was GPX Racing’s second in GTWC Europe competition, after its Total 24 Hours of Spa triumph in 2019 with Kevin Estre, Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen.

Monza winner Dinamic Motorsport finished in the points at Paul Ricard with a seventh-place finish for its Porsche crew of Christian Engelhart, Matteo Cairoli and Klaus Bachler.

Van der Linde, Wittmann and David Pittard ended up eighth for Walkenhorst after losing several positions due to a slow final pit stop.

Walkenhorst’s sister BMW of Timo Glock, Thomas Neubauer and Martin Tomczyk came through in ninth, ahead of the No. 26 Sainteloc Racing Audi shared between Markus Winkelhock, Finlay Hutchison and Frederic Vervisch.

ASP Takes Silver Cup; Penalty Drama Decides Pro-Am

AKKA-ASP won the Silver Cup class with its No. 87 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo driven by Simon Gachet, Thomas Drouet and Konstantin Tereschenko.

Tereschenko overtook Alex MacDowall in the pole-sitting Garage 59 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 for the lead during the second hour.

The AKKA-ASP crew controlled the race from there, and avoided puncture issues that affected most of the Mercedes-AMG entries including the Pro-class ASP and HRT entries.

Emil Frey Racing’s No. 14 Lamborghini took second in Silver Cup, from the GRT Grasser Lamborghini crew.

Pro-Am honors went to the Sky-Tempesta Racing Ferrari trio of Eddie Cheever, Chris Froggatt and Jonathan Hui after a penalty for the FFF Lamborghini that won on the road.

FFF driver Phil Keen was handed a five-second time penalty for tipping the Car Collection Silver Cup Audi into a spin. The Brit’s teammate Hiroshi Hamaguchi crossed the line ahead of Cheever, but ended up marginally inside the five-second window.

This gave Sky-Tempesta victory by a 4.8-second margin, while Keen and Hamaguchi settled for second ahead of Garage 59’s Jonny Adam, Alexander West and Chris Goodwin.

RESULTS: Paul Ricard 1000km (Provisional)

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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