The V de V Endurance Series got off to a fantastic start on Saturday, after 4 superb sprint races and a magnificent finale, which saw the GT/Touring car/LMP/PFV entrants battle until the last breath, in the dark, at Circuit Barcelona-Catalunya. The stunning weather reflected the quality of racing out on track, and the V de V Endurance Series 2017 looks set to reveal many exceptional talents and numerous spectacular races.
4 Hours V de V GT/Touring car/LMP/PFV Endurance Challenge
GT / Touring cars: IMSA, first winners of 2017
Franck Rava & Raymond Narac were present on the top step of the podium at Estoril last season, and tonight, Narac and his teammate Thierry Cornac were victorious at the opening round of the V de V Endurance Series 2017. The pair’s n°76 Porsche 991 GT3-R prepared by IMSA Performance was fantastically managed throughout the four-hour race, keeping their rivals at bay without committing a single error. After the race, Raymond commented, “when you have a driver line up like ours, the Gentleman driver is the one who makes the difference, and Thierry was phenomenal throughout his stint.” Current GTV1 title holders Visiom, who field their no.1 Ferrari 488 GT3 this season, climbed onto the second step of the podium after drivers Pagny, Perrier & Bouvet also enjoyed a smooth run on the Catalonian track. Third place was attributed to another Ferrari, this time a 458 GT3 entered by CMR with Sport Garage, handled by trio Mouez, Loger & Andlauer. Despite starting on pole position, the n°11 Renault R.S. 01 fielded by V de V / AB Sport Auto unfortunately missed out on a podium finish, right at the end of the race, and instead took fourth ahead of Tenketzian & De Narda’s superb Lamborghini Huracan GT3, which also claimed fastest lap during the race. RMS took the victory in the GTV2 class after their n°56 Porsche 991 GT3 Cup, entrusted to Mallegol, Blank & Bachelier crossed the finish line in front of Porsche Alméras no.65 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup, handled by Martinet, Tremblay & Palette.
LMP / PFV: An incredible duel between the two categories!
The LMP3 and PFV prototypes rewarded us with multiple breath-taking duels this afternoon, proving just how exciting the two categories can be when they go head to head. With just five minutes to go before the chequered flag, Graff’s no.39 Ligier JS P3, driven by Trouillet, Gauvin & Deguffroy was at the top of the timing sheets, before finally finishing 4th overall and 3rd in the LMP3 standings. In the end it was Duqueine Engineering’s no.9 machine, entrusted to drivers Duqueine, Droux & Panciatici who secured first place, only just ahead of N’Race’s no.93 Ligier, after young Jordan Perroy gave us an outstanding performance in the closing stages, also claiming the fastest lap of the race. The Prestige class belonged to another LMP3 team – Wintec – as driver trio Neveu, Héry & Denis took their no.7 Ligier to the top step of the podium.
The no.52 Ginetta G57’s race was far from easy after a mistake 40 minutes into the race caused the car to fall to the bottom of the time sheets. The prototype, prepared by Simpson Motorsport didn’t give up, and driver trio Robertson, Fielding and White fought their way throughout the 3 remaining hours back up the standings, using the no.57 Ginetta’s technical issues to their advantage in the final hour. The no.52 car was thus victorious, and finished ahead of rival G57 car no.29 prepared by Pegasus, handled by drivers Schell and Raffin, who had a difficult weekend, and still crossed the line in a satisfactory second place. The final podium spot in the PFV class was taken by R-ace GP’s Renault R.S. 01 Trophy, entrusted to Perrodo & Vaxivière. Aside from the no.57 Ginetta, team Inter Europol Competition endured a difficult race despite their hard efforts to resolve an issue with their cars’ drive trains, leaving their two Ligier prototypes in a disappointing position.
6 Hours V de V Proto Endurance: Qualifying
Team TFT and their reigning champions, Vilarino, Ferté and Illiano, start the year in perfect form after landing their Norma M20 FC on pole position for the 6 hour race on Sunday. This season, the starting order is no longer based on an average lap time, but is instead determined by the fastest lap time, which was produced by Ander Vilarino – a fantastic 1’41’375 lap time during qualifying. The no.2 prototype will share the front row with CD Sport’s no.14 machine, entrusted to Bole Besançon, Scheier & Taittinger, and just to prove that the rivalry in this championship is as fierce as ever, two different teams will start from row 2 on Sunday: DB Autosport’s no.22 Norma, with Vaucher and Accary behind the wheel, in front of car n°40, entrusted to Mondolot, Zollinger & Thuner. Row 3 will host DB Autosport’s second entrant, car no.21 with drivers Bassora, Monclair & Schatz and TFT’s no.8 prototype, handled by Capillaire, Creed & Melnikov. Behind these two, await the two dominating Prestige championship entrants: Equipe Palmyr’s no.42 Norma entrusted to Kubryk, Beck & Chevalier and CD Sport’s no.31 car, handled by Cochet, Kirchdoerffer & Faure.