Balfe and Paddock take the first victories of the season
Balfe Motorsport and Paddock Motorsport have claimed the first wins of the season in the Smart Money British GT Championship after a pair of action-packed races on Easter Monday at Oulton Park.
Adam Carroll held off a hard-charging Jules Gounon to take the Race 1 victory in the No. 22 Balfe Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II along with co-driver Shaun Balfe, following an impressive charge from the back of the field by of the Mercedes-AMG factory driver. .
Gounon, in the No. 6 Ram Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, fell less than half a second behind in Race 1, and although the Ram Mercedes crossed the line first in Race 2, he ultimately qualified sixth.
A mid-race red flag for barrier damage from a Mercedes-AMG GT3 crash, which occurred amid a downpour at the British circuit, resulted in race control resetting the field on the lap before to open the GT3 pit window and allow teams to change tires and drivers under red.
Once the race resumed with 20 minutes on the clock, Ian Loggie kept Balfe on track, but they both had 7 and 10 seconds, respectively, added to their finishing time due to failing to serve success penalties during the pit stop.
The result was that the No. 11 Paddock Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3 of Martin Plowman and Kevin Fletcher, who finished third on the road but had no success penalty time in Race 1, was declared the winner on the opening weekend of Fletcher with the GT3 specification. McLaren.
GT4 race honors went to the No. 42 Audi R8 LMS GT4 Stellar Motorsport of Richard Williams and Sennan Fielding in Race 1 after Darren Turner was forced to serve a stop-start penalty because his Newbridge Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT4 did not reach the minimum. pit stop time.
Turner and co-driver Matt Topham recovered to take victory in Race 2.
RESULTS: Race 1 / Race 2
Champions Open Defense with Double Sonoma
Andrea Caldarelli and Jordan Pepper launched their Fanatec GT World Challenge America fueled defense of the AWS drivers’ title by winning both races that made up the season-opening round at Sonoma Raceway.
The K-PAX Racing Lamborghini duo swept the weekend while Wright Motorsports and AF Corse did the same in the Pro-Am and Am classes.
Pepper made a strong escape from pole at the start of Race 1 to give Caldarelli a comfortable lead heading into the second stint.
The Lamborghini factory driver extended his margin to 52 seconds at the checkered flag, while Philip Ellis took second overall in the Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo started by Russell Ward.
Ellis and Ward finished second again in Race 2, but it was another Mercedes-AMG entry that provided the strongest early challenge.
Caldarelli ran second to Loris Spinelli in the US Mercedes-AMG Racetronics, the Italians running from end to end before giving way to their co-drivers.
However, a faster stop by K-PAX Racing put Pepper ahead of Steven Aghakhani, whose Mercedes was later out of contention with a flat tyre.
Ward then became Pepper’s main threat and the American driver was right behind the South African with less than half an hour to go thanks to a safety car.
However, Pepper tightened his grip in the final third of the race after the restart by establishing a lead over Ward of 21 seconds at the end.
RESULTS: Race 1 / Race 2
Racing Spirit of Leman wins at Paul Ricard
Tom Dillmann and Alexander Mattschull won the first round of the Michelin Le Mans Cup season at Paul Ricard driving for the Racing Spirit of Leman team.
The French team, which previously ran the Cool Racing LMP2 programme, claimed its first outright victory in the series by a margin of 17.5 seconds.
Mattschull started the No. 10 Duqueine D08 Nissan from the second row, behind MV2S Forestier Racing’s Jerome de Sadeleer and WTM Racing’s polesitter Torsten Kratz.
Kratz led the first stage, while Mattschull and de Sadeleer battled for second place until the driver exchanges.
Dillmann exited the pit cycle in third place, behind Leo Weiss, who had taken over driving duties at WTM Duqueine, and Louis Rousset, who had been promoted to the lead courtesy of MV2S Racing’s faster service.
Dillmann first found a way past Weiss before passing the outside of Rousset at Turn 3, shortly before a Full Course Yellow was brought out to deal with a stop by the No. 69 Nissan Cool Racing Ligier JS P320.
Racing Spirit of Le Mans Duqueine controlled the race from that point, as Dillmann extended his lead after the FCY to take a commanding win ahead of Rousset and Sadeleer. Tommy Foster and Martin Rich were third after passing the WTM car.
RESULTS: Paul Ricard
Other racing action
***Sonoma rookies Stevan McAleer and Eric Filgueiras won both races at the opening round of the Pirelli GT4 America season sharing an RS1-prepped Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport. They were joined twice on the podium by Conquest Racing Mercedes-AMG duo Gavin Sanders and Michai Stephens, and Pro-Am winners Bryan Putt and Kenton Koch. Race 1 / Race 2
*** A late caution period led to a tight finish to the opening AWS-powered GT America race at Sonoma, which ultimately went the way of Jason Daskalos in an Audi R8 LMS ultra. Daskalos edged out George Kurtz by just 0.152 seconds to finish second in Race 2, behind Jason Harward, who won from pole in his Zelus Motorsports Lamborghini. Race 1 / Race 2
***FFSA French GT held its season opener in Nogaro, for the annual Coupes de Paques Easter Cup. Nicolas Prost and Rudy Servol worked their way up from 10th on the grid to win the first race in a CMR Alpine A110 GT4. In Race 2 on Monday, the No. 87 Akkodis ASP Team pairing of Hugo Chevalier and Enzo Joulie took victory in their Mercedes-AMG GT4. Race 1 / Race 2
***The second season of the Ligier European Series kicked off at Paul Ricard with a couple of one-hour races. In the top class of Ligier JS P4 prototypes, Gillian Henrion won both meetings, while Haytham Qarajouli and Nicolas Beroud shared top honors in the class of Ligier JS 2Rs. Race 1 / Race 2
News and notes
*** Lotus has become the new official safety car supplier for British GT and held its first meeting in charge at Oulton Park last weekend. The new Emira sports car will lead the GT3 and GT4 fields throughout 2022. Lotus is preparing to launch the new Emira GT4 race car.
*** Audi Sport factory drivers Mattia Drudi and Markus Winkelhock will support the entry of two ADAC GT Masters cars from Car Collection Motorsport with the new Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II. Drudi will partner Thierry Vermeulen, the son of Formula 1 world champion Max Verstappen’s manager, Raymond Vermeulen. Winkelhock partners with Florian Spengler, who topped the GT Masters Trophy standings last season.
***Reigning DTM Trophy champion FK Performance has announced a four-driver crew for the 2022 season. The German team’s BMW M4 GT4s will be driven by Moritz Loehner, Marc de Fulgencio, Steriyan Folev and Jordan Wallace, who arrives of the Porsche Sprint Challenge North America.
***Madpanda Motorsport has confirmed the driver line-up for its debut season of GT Masters. Team Principal Ezequiel Pérez Companc will share the wheel of the team’s only Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo with Jannes Fittje.
***Imperial Racing has set its Italian GT Championship line-ups with Alberto di Folco and Stuart Middleton teaming up in the No. 6 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo for Sprint Cup events. The No. 9 Sprint car will be driven by solo competitor Paul August.
***European Le Mans Series team Racing Experience will compete in the new German Prototype Cup in a Duqueine D08 Nissan for Gary Hauser and Sebastian Von Gartzen.
***Classic racer Larry Connor recently missed the HSR event at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta due to his participation in the first totally private astronaut mission to the International Space Station. Connor is the pilot of the Axiom 1 mission that launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida on April 8.
This weekend: ADAC GT Masters (Oschersleben), NLS (Round 3), 24H Series (Spa-Francorchamps)
John Dagys and Davey Euwema contributed to this report