FFSA GT Dijon – Race 1 Report – May 20
The Vipers Are Back - But The Saleen Still Wins

The track was wet and tricky at the start of the qualifying session. Lesoudier (#10 Mirabeau Viper) was quickest ahead of Lagniez (#12 Ciné Cascade Viper). Soon, Patrick Bornhauser (#1 VBM Viper) improved on Lagniez’s lap time and was second quickest. Then he improved again and claimed the provisional pole position - but within a few minutes of the chequered flag, Lesoudier reacted and set the final pole.

We need to explain here (with thanks to David Legangneux) that, since the last pair of races, the FFSA has changed the technical regulations for some of the GT1 cars (called "GT1B").

For the Chrysler Viper GTS-R, the minimum weight is reduced from 1200 to 1175 kg and the restrictor diameter is increased from 32,5 to 33,4 mm.

For the Lister Storm, the minimum weight is unchanged (1150 kg), but the restrictor diameter is increased from 32,5 to 33,1 mm.

For the Porsche 996 biturbo, the minimum weight is reduced from 1200 to 1160 kg and the restrictor diameter is increased from 35,7 to 36,5 mm.

Behind Lesoudier and Bornhauser in the revitalised Vipers, the positions were ever changing. Pertti Kuismanen (#25 PSI Experience Corvette C6.R) was for a long time third quickest, but Jean-Claude Police (#22 CD Sport Viper) improved, ahead of the PSI Corvette. So, three Vipers were suddenly at the top of the times. Balthazard (#2 Larbre Compétition Ferrari 550 Maranello) could do no better than 26th fastest, with a car that was difficult to control in the rain.

The French Cup and GT2 Trophy entrants also started in the rain, and the session was soon red flagged, Lacroix Wasover (#81 Pouchelon Racing Dodge Viper GT3) having an off in the Pouas curve.

François Jakubowski (#84 Modena Racing Motors Ferrari 430 Challenge), who had been quickest before the red flag, improved and set the pole in the French Cup, ahead of Julien Rodrigues (#77 Hexis Racing Porsche 996 Cup).

In the GT2 Trophy, Claude Monteiro (#37 Estoril Racing Porsche 996 RSR) was quickest ahead of Michel Lecourt (IMSA-MATMUT Porsche 996 RSR).

Race 1 Report
Gaël Lesoudier, on the pole, made the best start, ahead of Bornhauser, Kuismanen, Dubreuil (#23 CD Sport Viper), Soave (#26 SRT C5-R) and Peyroles (#5 First Racing Viper).

The black #10 Mirabeau Viper quickly opened up a gap upon its rivals.

Then the safety car appeared, owing to a puncture for the Monteiro brothers’ Porsche and an off for Jean-Luc Blanchemain, following a contact with a slower car. At the restart, Lesoudier was still in the lead ahead of Bornhauser, Kuismanen and Hallyday (#24 PSI C5-R).

When the leaders pitted for the driver changes, Kuismanen stayed on the track for one more lap. After the driver changes, Alliot (in the repaired #24 PSI C5-R) was leading ahead of Beltoise (#10 Viper), Thévenin (#1 Viper), Ayari (#9 ANAVEO Oreca Saleen) and Palttala (#25 C6.R). The former F1 driver was passed, in traffic by Beltoise, for the race lead: the Vipers have certainly found their legs again.

Alliot then made contact with a backmarker and had to retire.

But at the wheel of the Saleen, Ayari was flying, and passed Thévenin after a good battle. He was charging after Beltoise but the race was yellow-flagged again and the safety car made its second appearance, because Rabineau’s Viper (#23) was stopped on the track, with Cholley’s Ferrari 430 Challenge similarly stationary.

At the new restart, there were ten minutes to go. One lap later, Ayari passed Beltoise and took the lead – so another win for the ORECA Saleen.

Palttala grabbed the last podium spot, overtaking Thévenin in the late stages.

In the GT2 Trophy, Michel Lecourt (IMSA Porsche RSR) stayed behind Claude Monteiro (Estoril Porsche RSR) before overtaking him for the lead. But when Monteiro suffered a puncture, Michel Lecourt and Raymond Narac, his partner, were easy winners.

In the French Cup, it was a first win for Gilles Gaignault’s Pouchelon Racing and Vannelet / Rousseau (Dodge Viper GT3), ahead of Jakubowski (Ferrari 430 Challenge) and the Rodrigues brothers (Porsche 996 Cup).

Bruno Hernandez (Saleen S7-R, Team Oreca): "The start was difficult because it wasn’t really easy to pass anyone. The Saleen has less speed on the straight, so I had to come out perfectly from the Pouas curve. I succeeded to move up to eighth place, then the safety car came on the track which was very helpful. We had a good setup for the race and Soheil was perfect.”

Soheil Ayari: "When I took over from Bruno, all leaders were in the pits and so we started again all together, which was a bit confused. I asked several times over the radio about my position but I couldn’t get any answer. I pushed really hard on my first lap and I passed several cars. It wasn’t easy but it was nice! When you start from the 13th position, you scarcely thinking of winning, which is most important for the championship. The Corvette and Ferrari drivers reamain our tougher contenders, but the Vipers are back. So the races will still be very competitive."
Claude Foubert

1 AYARI S / HERNANDEZ B Oreca Saleen S7-R GT1 1h01:14.683
2 LESOUDIER G / BELTOISE A MTO Mirabeau Chrysler Viper GTS-R GT1 1h01:16.777
3 PALTTALA M / KUISMANEN P PSI Expérience Chevrolet Corvette C6-R GT1 1h01:19.456
4 BORNHAUSER P / THEVENIN O V B M Chrysler Viper GTS-R GT1 1h01:20.957
5 SOAVE T / CAYROLLE E S R T Chevrolet Corvette C5-R GT1 1h01:22.152
6 LAGNIEZ J C / ZANGARELLI M Ciné Cascade Chrysler Viper GTS-R GT1 1h01:29.795
7 DUPUY D / FIAT F Protek Saleen S7-R GT1 1h01:30.143
8 DEBARD E / LASSERRE L Tarrès Team Chrysler Viper GTS-R GT1 1h01:41.674
9 CAZENAVE L / POLICE J C CD Sport Chrysler Viper GTS-R GT1 1h01:48.486
10 BESSON B / PEYROLES A First Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R GT1 1h02:10.826
11 POLICAND J / BALTHAZARD G Larbre - SOFREV Ferrari 550 Maranello GT1 1h01:48.399
12 BRANDELA R / STEPEC T Création Autosportif Lister Storm GT1 1h01:49.444
13 MILOE J / MILOE J L Red Racing Chrysler Viper GTS-R GT1 1h01:56.144
14 NARAC R / LECOURT M IMSA Performance - MATMUT Porsche 996 RSR GT2 1h01:56.613
15 CORMERECHE D / MERMET P Tarrès Team Chrysler Viper GTS-R GT1 1h02:03.823
16 ROUSSEAU V / VANNELET G Pouchelon Racing Dodge Viper GT3 C2 1h02:04.569
17 JAKUBOSWSKI François Modena Motors Racing Ferrari 430 Challenge C2 1h02:33.578
18 RODRIGUES M / RODRIGUES J Hexis Racing Porsche 996 Cup C1 1h02:39.098
19 COLAS F / GUIOD T Pilotage Passion Porsche 996 Cup C1 1h02:42.290
20 BROUARD R / NOZIERE P Pilotage Passion Dodge Viper GT3 C2 1h02:21.805
21 LELIEVRE F / POLETTE P IMSA Porsche 996 Cup C1 1h02:29.680
22 CLAIRAY G / LAURIN J G C R Dodge Viper C2 1h02:36.842
23 BACHELIER J M / HERVE C G C R Porsche 996 Cup C1 1h01:24.825
24 MOUEZ E / PRUNET C Protek Porsche 911 GT3 RS GT2 1h01:25.699
25 WOZNIAK D / LEPREUX C First Racing Porsche 996 Cup C1 1h02:36.911
26 GIMOND B / LEVY J C First Racing Porsche 996 Cup C1 1h02:38.660
27 RUFFIER J C / CABANNE G Ruffier Racing Porsche 996 Cup GT2 1h01:21.968
28 CHAMARAUD P / CHAMARAUD A Centre Porsche Lorient Porsche 996 Cup C1 1h01:27.148
29 BAUDOIN M / FILHOL A Ruffier Racing Porsche 911 GT3 RS GT2 1h01:32.654
30 CHOLLEY André André Cholley Ferrari 430 Challenge C2 1h02:00.021
31 LACOSTE J P / ZOLLINGER D JPL Sport Moteur Mercedes CLK Silhouette C3 55:51.019
32 ALLIOT P / HALLYDAY D PSI Expérience Chevrolet Corvette C5-R GT1 40:19.211
33 DUBREUIL B / RABINEAU T CD Sport Chrysler Viper GTS-R GT1 56:15.687
34 BLANCHEMAIN J L / DUMEZ S Euroflash Autovitesse Chrysler Viper GTS--R GT1 27:23.922
35 CHANEY M / BUREAU T Team Corvette Sport Xerox Chevrolet Corvette C5-R GT2 25:25.217
36 MONTEIRO C / MONTEIRO M Estoril Racing Porsche 996 RSR GT2 11:21.575

With thanks to Frédéric Espinos and Olivier Loisy


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