Saintéloc Racing’s Fabien Michal and Gregóry Guilvert won the inaugural GT4 South European Series’ opening race of the season at Nogaro earlier today.
At the Circuit de Paul Armagnac Fabien Michal (Saintéloc Racing - Audi R8 LMS) started from the pole-position, in front of grandstands full of spectators, and kept the first place, followed by Robert Consani (Team Speed Car - Alpine A110 GT4).
In the first stint the reigning GT4 France champion led the way, even tough he had to watch out the pace of the Alpines. On a "particularly difficult" circuit to overtake the compulsory pit-stops could have decide the day. However Saintéloc Racing had a good pit stop operation, and Grégory Guilvert (Saintéloc Racing - Audi R8 LMS) managed to receive the car in the first position of GT4 South European Series contenders.
Benjamin Lariche (Team Speed Car - Alpine A110 GT4) was the biggest threat to the race leaders when in the last third of the race the Safety-Car was called out, complicating the mission of Guilvert.
With cold tires Guilvert felt under pressure from Lariche that tried to overtake his rival for the lead, however, Guilvert managed to keep him at bay.
Last year’s GT4 France title contenders Lariche and Consani managed to finish second in the team’s first appearance with the Alpine.
Behind, Vincent Beltoise and Benoit Lison (Mirage Racing – Alpine A110 GT4) appeared odds-on to complete the podium with a faultless race under tricky weather conditions.
Simon Gachet and Éric Debard (Saintéloc Racing - Audi R8 LMS) crossed the finish line in fourth, beating to the flag Francisco Abreu and Miguel Cristóvão (Veloso Motorsport – Audi R8 LMS), who had an eventful race. The Portuguese duo was forced to pit due to a puncture when was running in fourth with fifteen minutes to go.
The Van Straaten brothers Axel e Rémi (Mirage Racing – Alpine A110 GT4) were the first ever Am Cup class winners following a faultless performance on their GT4 debut.
Olivier Esteves and Anthony Beltoise (Saintéloc Racing - Audi R8 LMS) endured a tough race, having been hit by an opponent in the beginning of race, crossing the finish line in seventh.
Tockwith Motorsport Ginetta G50 GT4 and ABM Grand Prix Ginetta G55 GT4 had a day to forget with both cars being involved in race accidents.
The weekend’s second 60-minute race begins at 13:50 (local time) tomorrow.
Grégory Guilvert (1st Pro Am): “We started from the pole-position and Fabien did a very good first stint. We decided to pit three laps after the pit window opened but we lost some time with slower cars on the way. I drove my best - at 110%. We are quite happy to be the first GT4 South European Series race winners.”
Robert Consani (2nd Pro Am): “I am happy to be on the podium today. The challenge is different this year as we have a new car. The Alpine is still very new for us, and the team is still learning. During the official practice we struggled with the pace. We found a better setup for the qualifying and we managed to finish in the podium today. I’m very happy because we were not expecting this strong result.”
Vincent Beltoise (3rd Pro Am): “For the team and for myself this was the very first race in a GT4 championship. We are quite happy with the third place just behind two very strong opponents. The race was tough but Benoit and I had a lot of fun.”
Rémi Van Straaten (1st Am): “The race was very intense and we had great fun, fighting with other cars. The car was good but we struggled a little bit with the tires in the second half of the race but that was the same for everyone. It was an amazing a race and we built up a bit of confidence today. We are very happy to become the first Am Cup winners of the GT4 South European Series.”