FFSA GT Championship – Dijon – Race 1 Report
Dumez / Blanchemain, But Saleen Rampant
The start of the first race was quite hectic. The leaders went through
the first corner without a hitch but there were some troubles at
the back of the field, some cars having contact, including the Red
Racing Porsche which couldn’t go any further. So, the safety
car came onto the track for ten minutes.
When the safety
car slipped away, Romain Bera set a quick pace in the PSI 996, which
gave him a six second lead in a single lap! Were the rest asleep?
Behind the leading Porsche, Patrick Bornhauser held back Didier
Moureu who passed David Hallyday (all Vipers), while François
Fiat lost the front bonnet of his Saleen on the straight. Bera’s
strategy was clear: pushing hard to have a comfortable lead. After
20 minutes, he was 10 seconds ahead of Bornhausr and Hallyday, who
was in third place at Moureu’s expense. The Mirabeau driver
had then to fight against Jean-Luc Blanchemain. Further back in
the field, there was a great battle between Jean-Marc Thévenot,
Yvan Lebon, François Fiat and Stéphane Lacroix-Wasover,
for eighth place.
before the driver changes, the safety car was back on the track,
owing to the#35 Porsche’s spin, the car being badly dangerously
positioned on the track. So, almost all drivers pitted at the same
time. Romain Bera alone stayed on the track, which was going to
cost him a lot. When the safety car came in again, Romain Bera was
first, ahead of Olivier Porta’s Porsche and Richard Ballandras
(Wieth Ferrari 550 Maranello), who had taken advantage of a good
pitstop. The second half was to be run briskly by the higher seeded
drivers. Dumez was coming back quickly on Porta and in the field,
Antony Beltoise and Dominique Dupuy’s moves were drawing attention.
Beltoise, quickest on the track, passed by turns Bruno Besson, Dominique
Dupuy then Mathieu Zangarelli. However, the Lease Plan Autovitesse
driver got carried away and spun, which cost him precious time.
Cayrolle passed Porta, while Thévenin stopped his Viper,
with a sticky gearbox. Within ten minutes of the end, Dominique
Dupuy completed his moves, adding Cayrolle to his list of victims,
which included Goossens, who still had electric problems with the
C5-R, Balandras, Zangarelli, Beltoise, Goueslard, Lagniez, Besson,
David and Porta! Eventually, Dumez / Blanchemain took their second
season’s win, taking advantage of VBM’s difficulties
to take the lead of the Championship, with a gap of four points.
Behind them, Dupuy / Fiat, second, had their best result at the
wheel of the more and more impressive Saleen S7-R.
Moullin-Traffort / Rabineau
took advantage of a clever driver change to widen the gap on Demigneux
/ Demigneux’s Lamborghini, Mouez / Prunet getting back on
the podium. In the French Cup, the Loger / Charriol Lamborghini
won easily, but as they finished second Erick Rumpler and Arnaud
Peyroles achieved a good result in the Cup standings, taking advantage
of Dedours / Makowiecki’s poor performance: they finished
in tenth place after a puncture
Dumez: “We started with worn tyres due to my partner’s
spin during the qualifying session. Jean-Luc Blanchemain made a
great first stint, and then we managed quite well at our pitstop
during the first yellow period. I couldn’t push hard, so I
took some risks when overtaking because I knew that Dominique Dupuy
was very fast. We are back in the Championship lead at half-season.
This evening, we have started for a new Championship.”
Dupuy: “We are very pleased with this second place
but a bit frustrated for I am sure that we could have won. All the
drivers weren’t sporting when we overtook them, it is a shame.
Our engine has come back from the States two days ago, and as we
were short of some components, we had to make some parts of the
car ourselves. I had a talk with Franz Konrad who runs the Saleen
in the FIA GT Championship, and it is the same thing for him, we
have to learn to manage with this stunning car. Anyway, it is very
positive and I really hope that we’ll have a win before the
end of the season. There’s much work, but we’ll face
Claude Foubert (With thanks to Julie Rubin, FFSA)