NM Racing Team takes second win at Paul Ricard, Kasperlik and Buus win Pro-Am Cup title

NM Racing Team takes second win at Paul Ricard, Kasperlik and Buus win Pro-Am Cup title

Jim Pla had already shown his pace in the opening race and in qualifying and the AKKA ASP Team driver and led the field on the long run down to turn 1, with Thijmen Nabuurs and Xavier Lloveras second and third as the cars rounded the first corner on the opening lap.

The NM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG initially lost two places to Pro-Am points leader Bastian Buus and Timothé Buret, but regained the positions when Buus was tapped into a spin at the final corner in his battle with the CMR Toyota. Five minutes after the incident, the #8 Toyota retired from the race.

Out in front, Valentin Hasse-Clot managed to overtake Xavier Lloveras to take second in class, but still behind the race leading AKKA ASP Team Mercedes-AMG and the V8 Racing Chevrolet Camaro. Lloveras managed to take back second in class, just before the #27 AGS Events Aston Martin suddenly slowed down. Hasse-Clot returned to the pits, but the French team was forced to retire the car.

Jim Pla and Thijmen Nabuurs were the last ones into the pits, with Pla leading by almost five seconds. Jean Luc Beaubelique came out of the pits ahead of Jop Rappange, but the young Dutchman quickly closed the gap and on lap 18 the V8 Racing Chevrolet Camaro took the lead.

With ten minutes remaining Rappange was still leading, but behind him Lluc Ibanez was closing in fast. Unfortunately for the Dutch team, Rappange couldn’t keep the lead and just a handful of minutes from the end the #15 NM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG overtook the Chevrolet Camaro into the final corner. From there on, Ibanez increased his lead and after 26 laps he claimed NM Racing Team’s second win of the weekend. V8 Racing claimed second, with the #66 CMR Toyota taking the final Silver Cup podium.

Jean Luc Beaubelique and Jim Pla claimed their second Pro-Am win of the day, with Jan Kasperlik and Bastian Buus taking second place. The second-place finish earned the Allied-Racing crew the Pro-Am Cup title, after the only remaining rival in the title fight, the #12 Borusan Otomotiv Motorsport BMW, retiring after 14 laps.  The race win in the Am Cup went to AGS Events’ Nicolas Gomar and Gilles Vannelet, with Giuseppe Ghezzi and Andreas Mayrl taking second and Fatih Ayhan and Ibrahim Okyay taking third place.

Xavier Lloveras, #15 NM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG: "It was a really, really difficult race. We were fighting for the vice-championship and we did it! It was a difficult first stint for me, but then Lluc did a fantastic job as always, overtaking the Camaro. We won!" 

Lluc Ibanez, #15 NM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG: "I fought with the Chevrolet and had the opportunity in the last corner, I pushed and I passed him and we won and took second in the championship!"

Jim Pla, #87 AKKA ASP Team Mercedes-AMG: "It was a good weekend. My stint was okay, though I was struggling a bit at the end. But we were still leading and quite comfortable and then Jean-Luc did the job. It’s quite difficult to fight with the Silvers when you’re the Am. Really happy!"