Austrian team Wimmer Werk Motorsport scored its maiden win in the VdeV Series last weekend at Magny Cours in a race which saw no less than six safety car appearences. Felix Wimmer, Klaus Bachler and Matthias Kaiser finished twenty four seconds ahead of the #4 Cool Racing by GPC Racing Ligier JSP3. While in the GT Category, Visiom and their Ferrari F488 GT3 took their first victory of the season.
The grid was significantly smaller in Magny-Cours than it was for the Barcelona season opening round. The #20 DB Autosport Norma M30 driven by Nicolas Schatz, Xavier Michel and Christophe Brenier snatched pole position (1:34.143) ahead of the two Cool Racing Ligier JSP3s (the #19 driven by Christian Vaglio-Giors and Marvin Klien (1:34.364) and the #4 shared by Alexandre Coigny and Antonin Borga (1:34.5020)).
All the cars had a clean start. Brenier in the #20 led the first lap but decided to pit less than five minutes into the race in order to observe one of its four compulsory balance of performance drive-throughs. Christian Vlagio-Giors in #19 inherited first place but rapidly came under pressure of Henning Enqvist in the #95 Racing For Poland Ligier JSP3. On lap 11, Vlagio-Giors went wide at Estoril and left his position to the Swede.
At the end of the first hour, Enqvist consolidated a solid gap of nearly 24 seconds over the #19 and pitted for fuel. The #19 returned in the lead but encountered a technical problem on lap 56 which caused the Ligier to spin at the Nurburgring chicane. The car returned to its pits and retired.
During most of the second hour, the #72 TFT Norma M30 driven by Philippe Paillot led ahead of Paul Scheuschner in the #33 Inter Europol Competition Ligier JSP3 and Jake Rattenbury in the #95. But again, it was no luck for the race leader as the #72 ran out of fuel on lap 68 and stopped on track. This triggered the first safety car period.
When the race got under way again, the #95, the #33 and the #20 swapped for first place as cars pitted for fuel or for balance of performance drive-throughs.
On lap 80, the #9 TFT Norma M30 stopped on track. This triggered a second safety car period. The race resumed for a few minutes but the safety car had to return moments later as the #9 went off at turn 1.
When the race restarted again, Hendrik Still in the #33 led the race with a 40 second gap over the #4 driven by Antonin Borga and Klaus Bachler in the #26 Wimmer Werk Motorsport Ligier JSP3.
At the top of the fourth hour, the #9 stopped again on track and the safety car was released a fourth time. This time, the #9 retired.
On restart, Bachler took the lead and grew a gap of 15-18 seconds over Antonin Borga while Still lost time to several compulsory balance of performance drive throughs. Less than 30 minutes before the end of the race, Borga was given a penalty by race directors and the gap with the leader grew to 34 seconds.
With 20 minutes to go, the #72 Norma M30 driven by Maxime Robin went off at Turn 1. This triggered a fifth safety car and the gap between the top two cars was therefore reduced to five seconds. On restart, the #16 DEMJ Renault RS.01 got stuck in a gravel trap. The safety car went out a sixth time and the gap between the two leaders shrunk to 2.5 seconds.
With less than 10 minutes left in the race, Borga played it safe to the finish line and let Bachler win. The #20 snatched third position. Just off the podium were the two InterEuropol Competition Ligier JSP3s (4th position for the #22 and 5th position for the #33).
In the GT Category, the #1 Visiom Ferrari F488 GT3 driven by Thierry Perrier, Jean Baptiste Bouvet and Thierry Perriet were dominant during the entire race. They won, finishing ahead of the #46 AB Sport Auto Lamborghini Huracan GT3 driven by Harry Teneketzian and Tiziano Carugati.
The #96 Solution F Foenix shared by Philippe Charriol, Jordan Perroy and Ludovic Cochet ended up third after taking a post race penalty of one minute and forty seconds.
Next up for the VdeV Series contenders is the 4 Hours of Paul Ricard on May 25, 26, 27 2018.