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Paul Ricard Post-Race Notebook

Sportscar365’s post-race news, notes and stats from the Paul Ricard 1000km…

Photo: Patrick Hecq/SRO

***GPX Racing gave Porsche its first Paul Ricard 1000km victory and ended a winless run for German manufacturers at the French round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup last broken by BMW and Marc VDS in 2013.

***Porsche has matched Audi and BMW for all-time Endurance Cup wins. The three German brands are now on eight victories apiece. McLaren is next on six. GPX became the 11th different team to win multiple races. Its technical partner ART Grand Prix previously won the Monza round in 2014 with McLaren. 

***Additionally, Porsche became the first manufacturer to win back-to-back Endurance Cup races in four years, since Lamborghini outfit Grasser Racing Team won the opening two rounds of the 2017 season at Monza and Silverstone.

***Bamber, Jaminet and Campbell took the GTWC Europe Endurance Cup points lead with a 33-point score for winning on Saturday. Dinamic Motorsport’s Christian Engelhart, Klaus Bachler and Matteo Cairoli are two points back in second, having scored 25 points for winning the shorter 3 Hours of Monza, plus six last weekend.

***The Iron Lynx Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020s switched positions post-race after a penalty for the No. 51 car of Come Ledogar, Nicklas Nielsen and Alessandro Pier Guidi. That car had 10 seconds added to its final race time for touching the No. 54 Dinamic Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R into a spin at Turn 2.

***Iron Lynx’s No. 71 Ferrari, which finished second on the road, had already been dealt a 10-second penalty of its own at the line for a mechanic tending to damaged bodywork during refueling at the final pit stop. The damage came after contact in an earlier positional battle with the No. 34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW M6 GT3. The penalty demoted the No. 71 to fifth, behind the No. 51, but the latter’s subsequent penalty reversed the factory Ferraris again.

***View the final classification for the Paul Ricard 1000km here.

***Walkenhorst’s No. 34 BMW dropped to eighth at the finish after initially challenging for a podium. The reason was a slow final pit stop of two minutes, 14 seconds to repair damage after the contact between Sheldon van der Linde and Iron Lynx’s Antonio Fuoco.

***Rolf Ineichen, Alex Fontana and Ricardo Feller maintained their Silver Cup points lead by finishing second at Paul Ricard after winning at Monza. Chris Goodwin, Jonny Adam and Alexander West remain on top of Pro-Am. Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts lead the GTWC overall leaderboard that combines results from Endurance Cup and Sprint Cup. View the full set of standings here.

***Kelvin Van der Linde earned three GTWC teams’ championship points for WRT by winning the Fanatec Esports GT Pro Series race on Saturday afternoon. Van der Linde won from Rinaldi Racing’s Nico Varrone, who took Silver Cup honors, and Fontana. The top three teams in each class gained three, two and one real-world points. Results

***The esports race had to be restarted after a network failure 15 minutes into the one-hour contest. The race was restarted based on the drivers’ positions one lap before the reset.

***Ferrari squad Sky-Tempesta Racing ended a string of nine races without a Pro-Am victory. Eddie Cheever III’s final-stint charge to get within five seconds of FFF Racing Team’s Hiroshi Hamaguchi, who had a five-second post-race time penalty on his car’s account, sealed the AF Corse-run team’s first Endurance win since Monza 2019.

***Jack Aitken explained the reason for his No. 114 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo dropping out of contention for points: “We had a delamination, and the rubber that was flying around cut off the brake link to the rear left, so we didn’t have brakes on the rear,” he told Sportscar365. “The race was finished by that point. We initially thought it was suspension because he said it was going crazy to the right, but they looked and it was the brake link.”

***Emil Frey will analyze the cause of its No. 163 Lamborghini’s retirement from a similarly high position. “It’s something really strange,” said team principal Lorenz-Frey Hilti. “We didn’t see that much in the data, so we have to see. Albert [Costa] is really experienced and he realized quickly that something was wrong. He said the car was reacting different turning the corners.”

***After losing ground due to an early puncture, Haupt Racing Team’s No. 4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo returned to its garage later in the race. The team initially thought there was something wrong with the car’s rear axle, but it emerged that driver Maro Engel had made a misjudgment in reading the car’s behavior. “We know that with the pickup of the tires, the car always feels strange,” said Engel. “But certainly the combination of whatever was down on the track and pickup led to an error in judgment.”

***An early three-car collision curtailed the races of the No. 30 WRT Audi, the Barwell Motorsport Pro-Am Lamborghini and the No. 40 SPS Automotive Performance Mercedes. Explaining why his Audi couldn’t continue, Frank Bird told SRO pit reporter Gemma Scott: “We had a bent track rod on the front and the rear. I got hit on the first lap and then someone spun at Turn 11. He was rolling backwards and I had nowhere to go.”

***Barwell’s Lamborghini, which rolled back into the Audi, was the first classified retirement of the race. Of the 47 cars that took the start, 37 reached the checkered flag.

***SPS elected to stop its No. 40 car after losing time to repairs after the incident. “We went two laps down,” said team manager Stephan Sohn. “Otherwise, the performance was good. We decided to stop the car to save some mileage. With the No. 20, this was clearly on the [Silver] podium. But we did the second-last pit stop 30 seconds before the FCY. So we lost a lap because of that.”

***Optimum Motorsport’s McLaren 720S GT3 lost around 12 minutes in the pits solving a battery issue caused by contact early in the race. It ultimately finished 34th, while the top McLaren was JOTA’s Pro car in 16th.

***The United Kingdom national anthem ‘God Save the Queen’ played for GPX Racing’s winning crew during the podium ceremony, with a British flag backdrop. GPX is based in Dubai while its drivers are from France, Australia and New Zealand.

***Porsche had its IGTC manufacturer’ championship trophy on display in one of its paddock support trucks. Stuttgart will launch its double title defense next month at the Total 24 Hours of Spa, which doubles up as round three of Endurance Cup.

***CMR could run a pair of Bentley Continental GT3s in the Total 24 Hours of Spa, according to team principal Charly Bourachot. “We push to do one Silver car and one Pro-Am perhaps, but nothing is totally decided at this time,” he told Sportscar365.

***Sportscar365 understands that SRO is looking to implement three fan ‘bubbles’ for spectators to attend Spa. Each bubble would contain 5,000 people, with one being reserved for the paddock and guests. The race ran behind closed doors in 2020.

***SRO founder and CEO Stephane Ratel said it would have been a “disaster” if the Paul Ricard 1000km took place any later than it did, due to the introduction of a 14-day quarantine for arrivals into France from the UK today. “The very bad news is that for ELMS next weekend, all the British teams had to come this weekend,” he told Sportscar365. “Imagine if we had the event in two weeks; we wouldn’t have the British teams, drivers, SRO people. A big part of the company is based in the UK.”

This article was updated to correct the finishing position of the Optimum Motorsport/Inception Racing McLaren.

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

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