FFSA GT Preview – Ledenon April 29-30
The first round
of the 2006 FFSA GT Championship at Nogaro was eventful, but dominated
by the Oreca Saleen S7R driven by Ayari / Hernandez. The Larbre
Ferrari 550 Maranello (Policand / Balthazard) and the PSI Corvettes
(C5-R for Alliot / Hallyday and C6.R for Palttala / Kuismanen),
plus the SRT C5-R
of Bouchut / Lebon have been the Saleen’s main challengers,
while the many Chrysler Vipers, including the (defending champion)
VBM car, had trouble getting onto the pace of the 2006 front-runners.
The second round
of the championship could be different. The layout of the Lédenon
track, near Nîmes, in the south of France, is rather atypical
and is the only track in the championship that runs anticlockwise.
Ayari and Hernandez, thanks to their two wins at Nogaro, will have
80 kg of ballast which, on a circuit with many changes of elevation,
could handicap them.
“The many ups and downs will increase the effects of this
ballast. Moreover, this circuit has a many slow corners, and the
car is often speeding up again. So, the ballast, on top of the problem
of the centre of gravity, will affect the handling of the car and
increase the wear on the tyres."
The reliable Vipers could find a more suitable track
at Ledenon and could be more competitive. Thévenin / Bornhauser
(VBM), the 2005 champions, were the winners of race 1 last year,
with Zangarelli / Lagniez (Mirabeau Viper) winning race 2. The Corvettes,
with their proven chassis, should be highly competitive.
Among the Viper
drivers, Anthony Beltoise will be replaced in the Euroflash Autovitesse
Viper by Sébastien Dumez, winner last year of the GT2 Trophy
with Raymond Narac. Beltoise will focus in 2006 on the Porsche Carrera
Cup, where he is the defending champion. Dumez and Blanchemain have
been already partners at the wheel of a Larbre Viper in the FFSA
GT Championship. Dumez won the French Carrera Cup in 2002 and 2003,
the FFSA GT French Cup in 2001 and was runner-up in the Formula
3 European Championship in 2001.
Dumez: "I am delighted to race again with with Jean-Luc
Blanchemain. We know each other quite well and we have had some
successes together. The FFSA GT Championship is very competitive
but we have still the means to perform well. I haven't raced a Viper
for two years, so the two practice sessions ‘won't be too
In the GT2 Trophy,
Narac and Lecourt (IMSA Porsche 996 RSR) will face two other¨Porsches,
driven by the Monteiro brothers and Prunet / Mouez. Most of the
GT3 cars won't be at Lédenon, as they prepare for the Silverstone
FIA GT round.
1- Ayari / Hernandez (Oreca Saleen S7R) 60 pts
2- Palttala / Kuismanen (PSI Corvette C6.R), 33 pts
3- Bouchut / Lebon (SRT Corvette C5-R) 32 pts
4- Alliot / Hallyday (PSI Corvette C5-R) 27 pts
5- Policand / Balthazard (Larbre Ferrari 550 Maranello) 23 pts
Race 1 is on Saturday, race 2 on Sunday.
to Frédéric Espinos and Olivier Loisy