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FFSA GT – Albi – Race Reports

Qualifying

Olivier Porta (#20 Sport Garage BMW Alpina) had set the pole position, ahead of Stéphane Lemeret (#37 WRT Audi R8 LMS), David Hallyday (#25 Oreca Audi R8 LMS), Eric Debard (#1 DKR Engineering Corvette Z06) and Gérard Tonelli (#9 Graff Racing Corvette Z06). Gaël Lesoudier, behind the wheel of a new entry, the #18 VDS Ford Mustang was sixteenth quickest.

Race 1 Report

At the start, Olivier Porta took the lead but very soon he was passed by Stéphane Lemeret (#37 WRT Audi R8 LMS). The fight was firmly on though behind him. Olivier Porta did not give up and overtook Lemeret. Arnaud Peyroles (#17 Graff Racing Corvette Z06) was too wide in Turn 1 and went straight on in the tyre wall and had some bodywork damages.

Behind Porta and Lemeret, David Hallyday (#25 Oreca Audi R8 LMS) and Eric Debard (#1 DKR Engineering) were fighting for third place. Debard succeeded in passing the Oreca driver.

Gérard Tonelli (#9 Graff Racing Corvette) had to retire due too engine problems. Just before the pitstops, Eric Debard stopped on the track with gearbox problems.

Porta and Lemeret stayed on the track very late and pitted within five minutes of the pitlane closing. The second part of the race was quite eventful. Renaud Derlot (#17 Graff Racing Corvette) retired just after the pitstop due to a oveheating engine. Christophe Bouchut had a drive through penalty for he hadn't respected the race line. Eric Cayrolle (#22 Team Pouchelon Dodge Viper) and Anthony Beltoise (#10 LMP Motorsport Aston Martin DBRS9) retired too, both because of engine problems.

At lap 28, Stéphane Ortelli (#25 Oreca Audi) was in the lead, ahead of Greg Franchi (#37 WRT Audi), Olivier Thévenin (#21 Sport Garage BMM Alpina) -though he had a broken rib-, Laurent Cazenave (#2 DKR Engineering Corvette Z06), Dino Lunardi (#16 Sainteloc-Phoenix Audi R8 LMS and Laurent Groppi (#7 Larbre Porsche 911 GT3 R). However, Laurent Cazenave had to pit once more with a broken rim. Lunardi was now threatening Thévenin and succedded in passing him for third place.

In the very late stages, Frédéric Gambillon (#14 Dodge Viper)) had to stop with a broken engine and left much oil on the track which was consequently much tricky, with many spins, including Olivier Thévenin's BMW and Maxime Martin's VDS Ford Mustang.

So, under the chequered flag, it was eventually a 1-2-3 for Audi, Ortelli/Hallyday winning the race one second only ahead of Franchi/Lemeret and Lunardi/Marc Sourd. Julien Briché/JC Lagniez (#4 JSB Compétition) were in fourth place, Groppi//Bornhauser in fifth place.

Race 1 Result

1 25 HALLYDAY D / ORTELLI S / Audi Team Oreca Audi R8 LMS 00:31.065 43 laps 
2 37 LEMERET S / FRANCHI G / WRT Audi R8 LMS +1.336 
3 16 SOURD M / LUNARDI D / Sainteloc - Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS +11.460 
4 4 LAGNIEZ J-C / BRICHE J / JSB Competition Lamborghini Gallardo + 22.723 
5 7 BORNHAUSER P / GROPPI L / Larbre Compétition Porsche 911 GT3 R +:25.409 
6 8 MERAFINA W / BOUCHUT C / Sainteloc - Phoenix Raci Audi R8 LMS +32.378
7 20 PORTA O / PORTA O / Sport Garage BMW Alpina B6 +34.151 
8 26 HERNANDEZ B / AYARI S / Audi Team Oreca Audi R8 LMS +35.172
9 27 TUCHBANT D / MOLLEKENS K / WRT Audi R8 LMS +49.242 
10 66 BLEYNIE A / ROMECKI S / Ruffier Racing Lamborghini Gallardo 42 laps
11 41 MOUEZ E / LOGER D / Nourry Compétition Porsche 997 Cup S 42 laps
12 64 CABANNE G / VANNELET G / Ruffier Racing Lamborghini Gallardo 42 laps
13 43 BUFFIN J P / ULLMANN P / ASP Compétition Lamborghini Gallardo 41 laps 
14 65 BRANDELA R / PRIGNAUD T / Ruffier Racing Lamborghini Gallardo 41 laps
15 18 LESOUDIER G / MARTIN M / Marc VDS Ford Mustang GT 500 36 laps

Race 2 - Qualifying

The second qualifying session was for the top-seeded drivers. Julien Briché (#4 JSB Compétition Lamborghini ) had set the pole position with a laptime in 1'18"716. Stéphane Ortelli (#25 Oreca Audi R8 LMS), second quickest, was very close and Dino Lunardi (#16 Saintéloc-Phoenix Racing Audi), third, as well. The Graff Racing Corvettes were in fourth place (Arnaud Derlot, #17) and in fifth place (Julien Canal, #7).

Race 2 Report

Poleman Julien Briché (#4 JSB Compétition Lamborghini ) was the best starter. At the end of first lap he was in the lead, ahead of Stépohane Ortelli (#25 Oreca Audi R8 LMS), Renaud Derlot (#17 Graff Racing Corvette Z06) and Dino Lunardi (#16 Saintéloc-Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS).

Gregory Guilvert (#11 LMP Motorsport Aston Martin DBRS9 had to pit again due to broken rim. Briché widened the gap upon his contenders. Further back in the field, Olivier Panis (#1 DKR Engineering Corvette) was moving up. The race was eventful : Soheil Ayari (#26 Oreca Audi R8) was trapped in the gravel in the last turn while Derlot had to pit following an off in the airport curve.

Behind Briché, who had now a large lead, Dino Lunardi was in second place, Ortelli was third, Canal (#9 Graff Racing Corvette) fourth, Panis fifth, Bouchut (#8 Saintéloc-Phoenix Racing) sixth and Cazenave (#2 DKR Engineering Corvette) seventh. Panis was pushing hard and made successful moves on Canal, first, and Ortelli afterwards.

On lap 11, however Briché was very slow at once on the track and was forced to pit, as Anthony Beltoise and Canal too. So, Lunardi was now leading the race, ahead of Panis, Ortelli and Bouchut.

Just before the mandatory pitstops, Derlot retired with a broken brake disc. Panis crawled slowly to the pits before retiring too.

Ater all the driver changes (lap 28), Sourd (Sainteloc/Phoenix Racing Audi) had a 11 seconds lead on Merafina. Then came David Hallyday (#25 Oreca Audi), Benjamin Rouget (#3 GT Luxury Ferrari F430 Scuderia), Patrick Bornhauser (#7 Larbre Porsche), Gaël Lesoudier (#18 VDS Ford Mustang), Lemeret [37 WRT Audi), Tuchbant (#27 WRT Audi), Police (#2 Corvette)and Porta (#20 Sport Garage BMW Alpina).

Hallyday, though he had much ballast due to his win in race 1, succeeded in passing Merafina and was runner-up. However, Rouget's Ferrari was flying. He passed Merafina and Hallyday. The late stages were quite eventful too. Tonelli (#9 Graff Racing Corvette) had a violent off in the Parc corner but he was safe and sound. Merafina had a spin and Police (#2 Corvette) retired.

Rouget came back quickly and took the lead (lap 37) while Hallyday was closing the gap on both drivers. The last lap was a true thriller : Rouget had to stop on the circuit, while Sourd and Hallyday had a strong fight for the win. Sourd eventually took first the chequered flag, with just two hundredths lead on Hallyday!

Porta was third, Bornhauser fourth. As Porta could not score any points in the championship standings, Bornhauser and his partner Laurent Groppi are closer to the leaders of the standings, Arnaud Peyroles and Renaud Derlot.

Race 2 Result

1 16 SOURD M/LUNARDI D Sainteloc - Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS 20.689 43 laps
2 25 HALLYDAY D / ORTELLI S / Audi Team Oreca Audi R8 LMS +0.015
3 20 PORTA O / PORTA O / Sport Garage BMW Alpina B6 +27.695
4 7 BORNHAUSER P / GROPPI L / Larbre Compétition Porsche 911 GT3 R +29.668 
5 8 MERAFINA W / BOUCHUT C / Sainteloc - Phoenix Raci Audi R8 LMS  +37.125
6 18 LESOUDIER G / MARTIN M / Marc VDS Ford Mustang GT 500 +1:02.898 
7 3 ROUGET B / CAMPBELL C / GT Luxury Racing Ferrari F430 Scuderi 42 laps
8 68 MADELAINE P / PRIEZ F / JSB Competition Lamborghini Gallardo 42 laps
9 65 BRANDELA R / PRIGNAUD T / Ruffier Racing Lamborghini Gallardo 42 laps
10 41 MOUEZ E / LOGER D / Nourry Compétition Porsche 997 Cup S 42 laps
11 64 CABANNE G / VANNELET G / Ruffier Racing Lamborghini Gallardo 42 laps
12 26 HERNANDEZ B / AYARI S / Audi Team Oreca Audi R8 LMS 42 laps
13 66 BLEYNIE A / ROMECKI S / Ruffier Racing Lamborghini Gallardo 42 laps
14 43 BUFFIN J P / ULLMANN P / ASP Compétition Lamborghini Gallardo 41 laps
15 27 TUCHBANT D / MOLLEKENS K / WRT Audi R8 LMS 41 laps
16 37 LEMERET S / FRANCHI G / WRT Audi R8 LMS 40 laps
17 2 POLICE J C / CAZENAVE L / DKR Engineering Corvette Z 06 32 laps

Claude Foubert