Mirage left flying the flag in a race left devoid of Aston Martins by the end

Monday, April 10, 2023


Over in France, the second race of the FFSA GT4 Series opening round at Nogaro turned quickly sour for what should have been eight Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT4 crews even before the green light started the hour-long race earlier today.

Thanks to damage sustained within race one’s spectacular incident involving the #98 AGS Events Racing AMR of Christophe Carriere and the #39 GPA Racing AMR of Tom Verdier, neither car found their way onto the starting grid ahead of todays race. The extent of damage to each car is unknown but the #98 car was seen to roll after it hit the inside tyre wall. 

There was then the omission from the grid of the sister #89 AGS Events Racing AMR of team boss Nicolas Gomar and Hugo Bac after they suffered a unexpected failure of a hydraulic component on the way out to the grid.

Like the series sister series in the UK today, umbrellas were also needed at the Nogaro circuit but not to keep off the rain – rather than as a shield against the prevailing winds and bright warm spring sunshine.

Unfortunately for the remaining Aston Martin runners, that sunshine didn’t last too long for two more runners either as a three-car coming together on the opening lap saw the #63 Alpine come across the bow of the #72 GPA Racing car of Kevin Jimenez and the #73 Racing Spirit of Lemans car of Clement Dub causing damage to all three cars. Jimenez would be forced to pit with a puncture but would re-join albeit a lap down whilst the #74 would persevere into the next problem!

A good start however from the #7 Mirage Racing AMR of Louis Meric after the team had worked late overnight repairing the damage from their race one incident but he would hang onto P7 throughout the opening laps despite having dropped down from his P4 Qualifying position of yesterday.

Fifteen minutes in and the #74 Racing Spirit of Lemans car again gets some more rough treatment as the #888 Audi tags it into a spin when it was nowhere close to making the apex first but at least the #74 was again able to restart just ahead of the mandatory pit stop window opening.

A good job from Meric as he handed the #7 Mirage car over to Romain Carton in seventh whilst the sister #5 car of David Kullman had done a better job in race two to hand over to co-driver Ruben Del Sarte. It was then salt was really rubbed into the wounds of the Racing Spirit of Lemans team as the #92 car of Mateo Villagomez came to a sudden halt on track whilst tenth to end up ‘dead stick’ with nowhere to go.

Whilst Race Control waited for all to complete their pit stop cycle, the inevitable Safety Car was called to recover the #92 to a place of safety. Getting back to green with just fifteen minutes of the race remaining, it was to be a clear sprint to the finish but from the eights Aston Martins originally listed, it was only the #7 Mirage car of Carton who would be anywhere close to challenge, but he was still in a distant eighth.

To conclude what was a miserable race for the four AMR powered teams, the #7 Mirage car of Carton and Meric came home P8 overall – P6 in class with its sister #5 car of Del Sarte and Kullman P16 overall / P9 in class with the #74 and #72 Racing Spirit of Lemans and GPA Racing cars finishing at the tail end of the timing screen.

Next stop for this series will be at Magny- Cours at the beginning of May.

Photo credits – FFSA GT4
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