Competitors in the VdeV GT/Touring Cars/LMP3 Endurance Series reached a mid-season landmark at Dijon-Prenois this weekend. Only seventeen cares were on the entry, which was a normal level of attendance after a busy week in Le Mans for many of the series’ teams.
As expected, the Ginettas took pole position with the #52 Simpson Motorsport driven by Sennan Fielding and Jordan Sanders clocking in at 1:11:013, ahead of the three sister cars: the #57 Pegasus Racing driven by Neale Muston and Michale Simpson (1:11:130), the #29 Pegasus Racing shared by Julien Schell, David Caussanel and Stéphane Raffin (1:11:212) and the #32 Simpson Motorsport driven by Charlie Robertson and Lawrence Tomlinson (1:11.308).
The first LMP3 car, the #93 N’Race Ligier, was fifth, some 0.9s behind the pole-sitting car. This gap between the fastest Ginetta G57 and the fastest LMP3 was actually one the smallest observed in a VdeV qualifying session in a long time. The first Norma M30 (the #8 recently acquired by Duqueine Engineering) was seventh on the grid, about 1.5s behind the pole sitting car. Meanwhile, in the GT category, the #46 AB Sport Auto Lamborghini Huracan was the quickest.
The #32 was smoking heavily as the result of a split oil line during the warm-up lap. Tomlinson headed back to its pit at the end of the first lap and went through repairs lasting 22 minutes. In the meantime, the other sixteen cars made a clean start. The #52 kept the lead ahead of the #57 and the #29.
On lap 12, Muston in the #57 overtook Sanders in the #52. Meanwhile, in the LMP3 category, both Intereuropol Ligiers (the #22 driven by Jakub Smiechowski and Hendrik Still and the #33 shared by Paul Scheuschner and Philippe Bourgois) led and began challenging the #52. The #33 eventually took third position as the #52 pitted for a 35-second stop-and-go penalty.
Later on lap 30, Henning Heqvist in the #8 Duqueine Engineering Norma M30 went off track, crashed into a tire wall and retired, triggering a brief safety-car episode.
Another safety-car episode occurred fifteen laps later when the leading car #57 Ginetta driven by Muston going off in the parabolica. The #57 also retired.
This left the #29 Pegasus Racing Ginetta, the two InterEuropol Ligiers and the #9 Duqueine Engineering Ligier driven by Nelson Panciatici and Lucas Legeret in contention for the lead. This group expanded to include the #52 Ginetta, as Fielding clocked several of the fastest laps and recovered from the earlier drive-through penalty.
Soon after the halfway mark, the #29 Ginetta made many of its six regulatory drive-through passages in the pit lane and slipped back a few posiitons. This allowed the #9 Duqueine Engineering Ligier to take the lead ahead of the #33 InterEuropol Ligier, the #52 Simpson Motorsport Ginetta and the second InterEuropol Ligier (the #22)
At the top of the third hour, the #52 Ginetta unfortunately stopped on the track and retired, while the #33 and the #22 Ligiers lost several positions to the #735 BHK Motorsport Ligier and the #39 Graff Ligier as they took their regulatory drive-through passages in the pit lane.
In the final hour of the race, the #9 Ligier consolidated its lead and cruised to the checkered flag. The #735 BHK Motorsport Ligier driven by Francesco Dracone and Markus Pommel finished in second position, one lap behind the winning car, while the #22 InterEuropol Ligier finished third.
The #29 Pegasus Racing Ginetta won the PFV category.
In the GT category, the #46 AB Sport Auto Lamborghini Huracan driven by Harry Teneketzian and Joffrey De Narda lost the lead in the opening laps of the race to the #1 Visiom Ferrari F488 GT3 shared by Jean-Bernard Bouvet, Jean-Paul Pagny and Thierry Perrier.
The #46 went on to have a very difficult race, with several pit stops resulting from technical problems on the front left wheel in addition to two consecutive 55-second stop-and-go penalties.
The #1 Visiom won the race one lap ahead of the #44 CMR with Sport Garage Ferrari F458 GT3 (driven by Eric Mouez, David Loger and Michael Petit) and three laps ahead of the #46 AB Sport Auto Lamborghini Huracan.
The next race will take place at Jarama (Spain) on September 1, 2 and 3 2017.