Sunday, October 26, 2014

GT Tour: Podium for Saintéloc Racing and title missed for Sébastien Loeb Racing

By Johan Laubscher

The French GT Tour hosted its season finale at Paul Ricard this weekend. A total of seventh Audi R8 LMS and ultra cars were fielded by four different teams.

Sébastien Loeb Racing came into the finale weekend aiming to clinch the drivers’ and teams’ titles. Their drivers of the #51 Audi R8 LMS ultra, Henry Hassid and Mike Parisy, arrived as the points leaders in the drivers’ standings, leading by seven points. The team itself was lying second in the teams’ standings, six points behind Sofrev ASP. They entered their #50 and #51 R8 LMS ultra cars this weekend.

Saintéloc Racing entered three cars along with a single entry from Team Speed Car. A new Audi team was also on the gird this weekend. Team Tech Auto by Exclusiv'Cars fielded the ex-Alfab Racing Audi R8 LMS from Sweden.

Qualifying for the first race saw the #51 Sébastien Loeb Racing R8 LMS ultra taking third spot and Saintéloc Racing #42 was tenth. The second qualifying session concluded with pole position for the #50 Sébastien Loeb Racing R8 LMS ultra, the only Audi within the top ten. Their teammates suffered a clutch problem in the #51 R8 LMS ultra and qualified last on the grid.

The first race was held on Saturday. The #42 Saintéloc Racing R8 LMS ultra of David Halliday and Gregory Guilvert finished as the highest placed Audi in fifth. Sébastien Loeb Racing’s two Audis finished in positions seven and eight, with the #51 leading home #50. Henry Hassid and Mike Parisy retained the points lead, but their lead had been reduced to six points. Team Speed Car finished twelfth, ahead of Saintéloc Racing #43 in thirteenth.

Race two on Sunday saw the points leaders Henry Hassid and Mike Parisy starting from last position. With a spirited drive the duo were able to move up to seventh, which would have been enough to clinch the drivers' title, but they were given a time penalty for contact earlier in the race and they dropped to tenth. As a result Henry Hassid and Mike Parisy finished runner-up in the drivers' standings, loosing the title to Raymond Narac and Nicolas Armindo in the IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Saintéloc Racing again finished as the highest placed Audi team during race two, with the #42 Saintéloc Racing R8 LMS ultra of David Halliday and Gregory Guilvert finishing on the podium in third. Team Speed Car finished eighth.

Photo credit: GT Tour