FFSA GT – Nogaro Race 2 Report – April 17
Oreca & IMSA Again

Qualifying For Race 2
The wet track turned this session into a lottery, as Olivier Thévenin commented: ‘ With these conditions, you must take advantage on your last lap. If you are held in traffic or if you make any mistake, you may move from first place to tenth place without being able to do anything!”

In the early stages, Palttala who, as for any Finn, likes slippery tracks, claimed the provisional pole, from Christophe Bouchut (SRT Corvette C5-R) and Anthony Beltoise (Euroflash Autovitesse Viper). However, with the track drying, most of drivers pitted to change their tyres. When the tyres were up to temperature, the positions were changing unceasingly. Bouchut was quickest, but Giroix (First Racing Viper) improved, and so did Alliot (PSI C5-R), Beltoise, then Ayari (Oreca Saleen S7R) and Dupuy (Protek Saleen S7R). Jérôme Policand (SOFREV Larbre Ferrari 550 Maranello) had a puncture and stopped on the circuit. In the very last momentst, Soheil Ayari set the eventual pole position, ahead of Frédéric Makowiecki (Mirabeau Viper), Beltoise, Palttala, Bouchut, Dupuy and Besson (First Racing Viper).

In the GT2 Trophy, Narac (IMSA Porsche 996 RSR) and Prunet (Protek 911 RS) were fighting hard and so did Loger (996 Cup), Rodrigues (996 Cup) and Bourdais (Dodge Viper GT3) in the French Cup. All drivers pitted when the track began to dry and changed their tyres. Narac claimed the GT2 pole, ahead of Rambeaud (Ferrari 550 Maranello GT2) and Prunet. In the French Cup, Loger was three seconds quicker than Bourdais and Prunet.

Soheil Ayari: “It was a tough qualifying session. I chose to start immediately with slick tyres but I couldn’t warm up them enough, so I wasn’t on the right pace. The final five minutes were perfect, I did my best for two laps, it was very nice. If the track is still slippery and the temperature is low too, the start of the race might be difficult, it won’t be easy to warm the tyres. I hope it’s going to be hotter.”

Christophe Bouchut (Corvette C5-R - SRT): “It’s a shame, I was poleman during most of the session, I was in second place within a minute of the end, but I was held up on my final lap, so I am only in fifth place. However, yesterday we started from the fifteenth position, so fifth is better. We are optimistic for the race, the car is OK this morning.”

Race 2

Soheil Ayari was first into turn 1 (below), ahead of Markus Palttala (PSI C6.R), who had a great start from the second row, Makowiecki (Mirabeau Viper), Bouchut (SRT C5-R), Dupuy (Protek Saleen S7R), Beltoise (Euroflash Autovitesse Viper), Alliot (PSI C5-R) and Lasserre (Tarrès Team Viper).

The fuel pressure of the Larbre Ferrari 550 Maranello was dropping and Jérôme Policand became the first retirement.

Four men were pulling away from the field: Ayari, leading ahead of Palttala, Bouchut and Dupuy. Positions did not change until the driver changes, the gap fluctuating according to the traffic and the backmarkers.

Palttala (above) was first to pit but had a problem with his belt and his steering wheel and lost some time. So, after the driver changes, Hernandez (Oreca Saleen) had a twenty second lead ahead of Lebon (SRT Corvette C5-R), Blanchemain (Euroflash Autovitesse Viper) and Debard (Tarrès Team Viper). Blanchemain and Debard made contact and Blanchemain lost many positions. Debard moved up to second place but was out of petrol and retired, as did Fiat (Protek Saleen), but in the Saleen’s case because of a rear right puncture.

Bruno Hernandez crossed the finish line as a winner, ahead of three Corvettes: Yvan Lebon (SRT C5-R - below), Pertti Kuismanen (PSI C6.R) and David Hallyday (above) who had a great fight with Bornhauser (VBM Viper).

In the GT2 Trophy, Raymond Narac and Michel Lecourt (IMSA Porsche 996 RSR) led the race from start to finish and were winners ahead the Monteiro brothers who had to pit, the air intake being blocked, but who succeeded in passing Mouez and Prunet (Protek 911 GT3 RS), who finished in third place.

In the French Cup, Patrick Bourdais (Larbre Dodge Viper GT3) took the lead in the early stages, but David Loger (Pilotage Passion Porsche 996 Cup) took advantage of the traffic to overtake Bourdais and to widen a gap. Philippon / Labescat (Espace Racing Porsche 996 Cup) finished in third place as in Sunday.

Soheil Ayari: ‘ I did my best to be first in turn 1, then I pushed very hard in the first three laps to widen a gap, as I used to when I was racing in Formula 3 some years ago. The gap being steady, then I tried to save the car and our tyres. I could manage with the traffic, so I could widen a larger gap. Our strategy was correct, while our contenders had some troubles, so Bruno had only to manage the gap. For the team, it is a good start. At Lédenon, with 80 kgs ballast, it should be more difficult. We have not to be too confident, the season will be long.”

Christophe Bouchut: “For Yvan and the team, it is a good result. We have worked a lot on the car set-up, but the C5-R is still ‘perfectible’. For instance, I couldn’t make a move on Palttala who was much faster in the straights. Since I left the Championship in 1997, its level is much higher. All the professional drivers are very close, the cars are top class and the difference is made by the non-professional drivers. Yvan Lebon did a great job this weekend and I believe that we will be performing well with our hard work.”

1 AYARI S / HERNANDEZ B Oreca Saleen S7-R GT1 1h00:38.323 1:25.561 / 4

2 LEBON Y / BOUCHUT C S R T Chevrolet Corvette C5-R GT1 1h00:54.270 15.947 1:26.409 / 7
3 PALTTALA M / KUISMANEN P PSI Expérience Chevrolet Corvette C6-R GT1 1h00:54.679 16.356 1:25.746 / 2
4 ALLIOT P / HALLYDAY D PSI Expérience Chevrolet Corvette C5-R GT1 1h01:05.207 26.884 1:27.292 / 5
5 BORNHAUSER P / THEVENIN O V B M Chrysler Viper GTS-R GT1 1h01:25.639 47.316 1:28.311 / 4
6 BLANCHEMAIN J L / BELTOISE A Euroflash Autovitesse Chrysler Viper GTS--R GT1 1h01:34.849 56.526 1:27.031 / 4
7 BESSON B / PEYROLES A First Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R GT1 1h02:08.330 1:30.007 1:27.409 / 2
8 DUBREUIL B / RABINEAU T CD Sport Chrysler Viper GTS-R GT1 1h02:08.782 1:30.459 1:30.097 / 11
9 HAUCHARD F / PORTA O Tarrès Team Porsche 996 Bi-Turbo GT1 1h00:46.053 1 Trs 1:28.916 / 2
10 LAGNIEZ J C / ZANGARELLI M Ciné Cascade Chrysler Viper GTS-R GT1 1h00:53.083 1 Trs 1:28.237 / 2
11 CAZENAVE L / POLICE J C CD Sport Chrysler Viper GTS-R GT1 1h00:53.180 1 Trs 1:29.880 / 33
12 GIROIX F / TUCHBANT D First Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R GT1 1h01:16.334 1 Trs 1:28.112 / 6
13 BRANDELA R / STEPEC T Création Autosportif Lister Storm GT1 1h01:54.396 1 Trs 1:30.371 / 3
14 CORMERECHE D / MERMET P Tarrès Team Chrysler Viper GTS-R GT1 1h01:55.474 1 Trs 1:31.634 / 2
15 NARAC R / LECOURT M IMSA Performance - MATMUT Porsche 996 RSR GT2 1h02:04.196 1 Trs 1:30.586 / 2
16 DEBARD E / LASSERRE L Tarrès Team Chrysler Viper GTS-R GT1 58:07.708 2 Trs 1:27.483 / 3
17 COLAS F / LOGER D Pilotage Passion Porsche 996 Cup C1 1h01:46.589 2 Trs 1:33.337 / 4
18 ADAM J Y / BOURDAIS P Racing Logistic Dodge Viper GT3 C2 1h01:50.968 2 Trs 1:33.081 / 5
19 MONTEIRO C / MONTEIRO M Estoril Racing Porsche 996 RSR GT2 1h00:39.999 3 Trs 1:32.718 / 4
20 MILOE J / MILOE J L Red Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R GT1 1h00:45.035 3 Trs 1:31.018 / 2
21 LABESCAT F / PHILIPPON C Espace Racing Porsche 996 Cup C1 1h01:00.768 3 Trs 1:34.460 / 9
22 DEPRESLE F / MELAN MOUTET M C P A Porsche 996 Cup C1 1h01:11.380 3 Trs 1:34.376 / 8
23 MOUEZ E / PRUNET C Protek Porsche 911 GT3 RS GT2 1h01:24.705 3 Trs 1:33.045 / 7
24 WOSNIAK D / LEPREUX C First Racing Porsche 996 Cup C1 1h01:02.787 4 Trs 1:37.565 / 36
25 COMAR N / RAMBEAUD P GPA Racing Ferrari 550 Maranello GT2 1h02:03.696 4 Trs 1:33.202 / 2
26 DUPUY D / FIAT F Protek Saleen S7-R GT1 53:36.131 5 Trs 1:26.347 / 4
27 RUFFIER J C / RUFFIER J Ruffier Racing Porsche 996 Cup GT2 58:06.200 5 Trs 1:34.090 / 5
28 RODRIGUES M / RODRIGUES J Hexis Racing Porsche 996 Cup C1 1h02:16.420 5 Trs 1:34.162 / 10
29 CLAIRAY G / LAURIN J G C R Porsche 996 Cup C1 47:11.785 12 Trs 1:35.976 / 3
30 SOURD M / MAKOWIECKI F MTO Mirabeau Chrysler Viper GTS-R GT1 20:44.315 26 Trs 1:26.549 / 2
31 LELIEVRE F / POLETTE P IMSA Porsche 996 Cup C1 6:30.446 36 Trs 1:34.394 / 3
32 POLICAND J / BALTHAZARD G Larbre - SOFREV Ferrari 550 Maranello GT1 3:04.661 38 Trs 1:28.280 / 2

FFSA GT Championship Standings

1- Ayari / Hernandez (Oreca Saleen) 60 points
2- Palttala / Kuismanen (PSI Corvette C6.R) 33 points
3- Bouchut / Lebon (SRT C5-R) 32 points
4- Alliot / Hallyday (PSI C5-R) 27 points
5- Policand / Balthazard (SOFREV Larbre Ferrari) 23 points
6- Narac / Lecourt (IMSA Porsche 996 RSR), 20 points (1st GT2 Trophy)
7- Dupuy / Fiat (Protek Saleen) 18 points
8- Thévenin / Bornhauser (VBM Viper) 18 points
9- Prunet / Mouez (PROTEK Porsche 911 GT3 RS) 14 points (2nd GT2 Trophy)
10-Beltoise / Blanchemain (Euroflash Autovitesse Viper) 13 points…

FFSA GT French Cup
1- Adam / Bourdais, 55 points
2- Colas/ Loger, 55 points
3- Rodriguez / Rodriguez, 32 points …


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