29 agosto 2016
Le Castellet, 29 August 2016 - The No 72 SMP Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 of Aleksey Basov and Victor Shaytar took a lights to flag victory in Round 4 of the GT3 Le Mans Cup at the Circuit Paul Ricard, their third win in a row, but they had to fight all the way to the chequered flag. The Russians finished just ahead of the No 88 Mentos Racing Porsche of Egidio Perfetti and Ben Barker, with the hard charging Euan Hankey taking the final podium position for himself and Salih Yoluc in the No 34 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage.
First laps. At the start the TF Sport Aston Martin got ahead of the SMP Ferrari at the first corner but Yoluc only held the lead for a short time as Basov got back ahead before the cars headed down the Mistral Straight for the first time. Another good start was made by the No 7 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari 458 of Matteo Cressoni with the Italian getting into the first corner in third place ahead of the No 55 McLaren of Hiroshi Hamaguchi and the No 88 Porsche of Perfetti. Cressoni then got on terms with Yoluc’s Aston Martin and swept past the Turk on the inside at Signes Corner to take second place. The no34 Aston Martin was then handed a drive through penalty as Yoluc’s start was judged to have been too good and was penalised for a jump start. The Turkish driver rejoined in 8th place and then began his fight back up the field.
Safety Car. Cressoni’s Ferrari then suffered a rear puncture as the car entered the Mistral Straight: the Italian was forced to slow and return to the pits and this promoted the No 88 Porsche into second place as the Safety Car was deployed to allow the marshals to recover the debris caused by the Ferrari’s bodywork broken off by the flailing tyre. At the halfway point of the race the cars started to peel off into the pits to complete their mandatory pitstops. Victor Shaytar held the lead in the SMP Racing Ferrari, with the Porsche in 2nd and the TF Sport Aston Martin, with Euan Hankey at the wheel, in third.
Championship standings. As the chequered flag was displayed it was the SMP Racing Ferrari of Victor Shaytar that crossed the line just 1.5 seconds ahead of Ben Barker in Mentos Racing Porsche, with the TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage of Euan Hankey 8.2 seconds behind the lead car after two hours of racing. After four races Shaytar and Basov are on 77 points in the Drivers Championship, 10 points ahead of Hankey and Yoluc with two races in Belgium and Portugal remaining. In the team championship TF Sport are on 67 points, 15 ahead of Mentos Racing and SMP Racing on 52 points. The next round is at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on Saturday 24 September.