Overall win in dramatic conditions for Potty/Cheli - #8 Xwift Racing Events Toyota
Pro-Am class victory for Leclerc/Villiger - #36 Code Racing Development Alpine
Am class win for Alban Varutti, who makes it four out of four - #10 AVR-Avvatar Porsche
As the action got underway 53 cars made a clean start behind the #2 Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport BMW. Yesterday's winning #74 Racing Spirit of Léman Aston Martin first advanced into second position and a clean move on the leading BMW put them in front after the first quarter of the race. Some small incidents along the way, one causing the #3 Team Speedcar Audi and the #22 Allied Racing Porsche to abandon, but all the way to the pit window the race remained free of safety car procedures.
Both front runners timed their pitstops almost identically and maintained their order, but on the outlap the #74 Aston Martin ran into trouble and lost the lead for good. For a brief moment, that must have made Michael Schrey very comfortable in the #2 BMW he had just taken over from Gabriele Piana but then... things changed dramatically.
The windscreen wipers first came on with just over 20 minutes left, prompting a number of teams to pit again for wet tyres, while others – including the race leaders – decided to risk sitting it out on slicks. Antoine Potty, having taken over from Etienne Cheli during the pit window, showed real flair in these tricky conditions and managed to put the #8 Xwift Racing Events Toyota in front with 18 minutes left on the clock before... all hell broke loose!
By the time the rain became a thunderous downpour but it was now too late for the front runners to consider changing tyres. Treading ever more carefully the #8 Toyota and #2 BMW saw the #4 Mercedes-AMG of BCMC Motorsport powered by EastSide Motorsport close the gap, but in a truly apocalyptic final lap the #4 Mercedes-AMG spun, causing the #2 BMW to lose decisive seconds in the process.
This handed the advantage to Antoine Potty, who tiptoed the #8 Toyota over the finish line, taking his slowest but also most epic chequered flag, and offering a first ever European win to his codriver Cheli.
Chaotic race with remarkable performances down the field
In the chaos behind all the action at the front, Borusan Otomotiv had decided to fit full wets to their #12 BMW M4 GT4 and it came storming through the ever slower slick-equipped field only to strand just one place shy of the podium. One more lap would have seen their strategy succeed, but it was not to be. Same situation exactly for the #35 Code Racing Development Alpine, where a manic push on wet tyres in the final stages brought them up to 3rd overall.
A similar tour de force in Pro-Am, where the #72 Jimenez/Grizaud GPA Racing Aston Martin started at the very back of the grid after problems in qualifying, but still managed to take second in class, behind Pro-Am winners Antoine Leclerc and Loïc Villiger in the #36 Code Racing Development Alpine A110 GT4 EVO.
To round up the exceptional results at Circuit Paul Ricard, the #10 AVR-Avvatar Porsche finished on top in Am class, making it a perfect four out of four winning streak since the season started!
For the eight competing cars from GT4 Scandinavia who joined the GT4 European Series grid at Circuit Paul Ricard, this exceptional final to the weekend will be just as memorable. Most of all for Skaras/Holmlund in the #290 Toyota Gazoo Racing Sweden Supra GT4 EVO who finished 14th overall and took home top points for their championship!
Next meeting: Spa-Francorchamps
Race 2 wraps up the weekend at Circuit Paul Ricard. The GT4 European Series paddock will gather again at the end of June in Belgium at Spa-Francorchamps, where it will once again welcome the competitors from GT4 Scandinavia.
Two free practice sessions will run on Thursday June 29, followed by qualifying on Friday at 11.30 CEST. Race 1 starts that same Friday at 18.00 CEST and the event will reach its final stage on Saturday July 1st with Race 2 scheduled for 13.15 CEST.