Getting ready for the Paul Ricard 1000kms

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

After the successes of the Pro-Am and Am class entries from both Oman Racing and Garage 59 at the previous two rounds of the Blancpain GT Endurance Cup, those crews will be looking to continue that path of success whilst the three remaining Pro class Aston Martin entries will be looking to finally establish a foot hold within that class as the Blancpain GT Series ventures back over to Paul Ricard for the extended 1000km event this weekend.

Swiss based R-Motorpsort certainly had the most mis-fortune last time out at Silverstone earlier this month with their #76 car first being hit with a bout of unexpected sickness just after Qualifying leaving Marvin Kirchhofer unable to race before a double stinting Maxime Martin had his race to the flag aboard the #76 car curtailed by a piece of track debris setting off the cars internal fire extinguisher. Till then a decent (possible podium) finish looked highly likely after a text book run from Jake Dennis and another scintillating hour behind the wheel from Nicki Thiim.

Also referring to the #76 car, the continued driving duties from Thiim have now sadly come to an end as Aston Martin Racing factory team mate Alex Lynn now becomes free from his prior Formula E commitments to make his series debut at Paul Ricard where he will join co-drivers Dennis and Kirchhofer. The sister #62 car remains unchanged with Martin, Matt Parry and Mathieu Vaxivierre all behind the wheel.

That was certainly all very unfortunate for them but very luckily for Come Ledogar, a high speed impact on the opening lap at Silverstone thankfully resulted in no serious harm to the Frenchman despite significant - immediate race ending damage to the front of his #59 Garage 59 AMR Vantage GT3 leaving his co-drivers Andrew Watson and Jonny Adam with no home race opportunities. That car has now been repaired and has had a shakedown before being transported down along with it sister #188 Am class car that won its drivers Alex West, Chris Harris and Chris Goodwin their second consecutive P3 finish of the season so far.

Finally but certainly by no means least is the #97 Oman Racing with TF Sport entry of Ahmad Al Harthy, Salih Yoluc and Charlie Eastwood. Also having enjoyed two podium finishes so far in the Series, having stepped up from P3 to P2 after a post race penalty was applied to the Ram racing Mercedes AMG in the Pro Am class at Silverstone, this has certainly wetting their appetite for more success in this Saturdays six hour marathon.

“We have had the pace to win races this year and we head to Paul Ricard as we have to both Monza and Silverstone with the same mindset. We were unfortunate at Monza with the punctures and showed our pace again at Silverstone. This is a very tough event - anything can happen in a six hour race, but as ever the aim is to stay in the championship hunt with another podium position” said TF Sport Principle Tom Ferrier.

Track action for the Endurance Cup begins on Friday with the usual Free Practice session before Pre Qualifying later in the afternoon. Saturday morning sees the triple solo Qualifying sessions ahead of the start of the 1000km race at 18:00hrs local.

As mentioned in the previous post, this event in the south France concludes at midnight on Saturday with drivers Jonny Adam, Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn, Charlie Eastwood, Salih Yoluc and Mathieu Vaxivierre all required at Le Mans on Sunday for the FIA WEC LM24 Official Test day.

Photo credits - Blancpain / Garage 59 / TF Sport

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