Racing Spirit of Léman Aston Martin scores confident first win at Circuit Paul Ricard

Racing Spirit of Léman Aston Martin scores confident first win at Circuit Paul Ricard

First things first: it would be difficult to imagine a better start in any motorsport event than the one by Antoine Potty in the #8 Xwift Racing Events Toyota. He thundered off the line from 3rd place and followed up with a brave move in turn one to take the lead in style.

Heavy contact between the #67 Saintéloc Junior Team and #83 Team Speedcar Audi's in turn 8 triggered a safety car procedure just minutes after that spectacular start, giving the drivers ample time to start plotting pitstop strategy. As the lights went back to green 19 minutes into the race and the pit window opened six minutes later, it became clear that some had plotted better than others... or did they?

Racing Spirit of Léman timed their pitstop perfectly, and Konstantin Lachenauer must have been all smiles when he left the pits just meters in front of the rivaling Toyota. A decisive move that would put the #74 Aston Martin on its way to a well-deserved victory and a sweet revenge after their double DNF in Monza.

The #3 Team Speedcar Audi, on the other hand, missed the pit window entirely, and when Robert Consani took over from Benjamin Lariche and exited in third place, he knew a time penalty would be coming his way. Refusing to give up, Lariche undertook an intense battle for third with the #8 Toyota, right down to the wire. This left a gap of 8.2 seconds with the #4 Mercedes-AMG charging behind, enough for Lariche to hold on to the podium despite their 5'' time penalty for a late pitstop.

Saintéloc Junior Team dominates Pro-Am

Already quickest Pro-Am team in qualifying, Saintéloc Junior Team never showed any weakness on the way to a steady class win (top 5 overall) for Christophe Hamon and Grégory Guilvert in the #42 Audi R8 LMS GT4. Max Kronberg looked on his way to second in the #30 W&S Motorsport Porsche he shares with Hendrik Still, but started struggling with just 10 minutes left and eventually dropped to third in class, behind Loïc Villiger and Antoine Leclerc in the Code Racing Development #36 Alpine A110 GT4 EVO.

GT4 Scandinavia's best performer falls right at the end

Drama in Pro-Am as well for the visiting GT4 Scandinavia competitors. After an impressive Q1, the #290 Toyota Gazoo Racing Sweden Supra GT4 EVO maintained itself bravely in the top 10 for most of the race, but an unlucky contact with the #10 AVR-Avvatar Porsche with just six minutes to go caused enough damage for him to drop all the way down to a heartbreaking 45th overall and 4th in his class... Instead, the GT4 Scandinavia win went to the M-Bilar Racing #298 BMW M4 GT4. The #221 RMS Mercedes-AMG GT4 took honours in the Scandinavian Am class.

AVR-Avvatar continues winning streak

The podium in Am welcomes the same top 3 from qualifying in a slightly different order. GPA Racing's #72 Aston Martin takes a steady third, while the #55 Alpine A110 GT4 EVO from Autosport GP LS Group Performance finishes second. That means that the second quickest qualifying Am car continues its Am winning streak: indeed, it is now 3 in a row for Alban Varutti in the #10 AVR-Avvatar Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS CS!

Race 1 concluded Saturday's action. Time for drivers and teams to get a good night's rest and prepare for Race 2. Start given at 11.35 CEST on Sunday, with live streaming again on the GT World YouTube Channel.

Circuit Paul Ricard Race 1 Results