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Imola, 17 – 18 May 2013

As part of the support programme for the European Le Mans Series race at Imola, the FFSA Championnat de France and combined Coupe de France GT series held their second and third races of the 2013 season on 17 & 18 May. The first race was held on the Saturday afternoon and the second on the Sunday afternoon. Despite being “away” rounds of the French series, there was a 21 car entry at the Italian circuit, with McLaren MP4- 12Cs being the largest in number with six entries from three teams, whilst there were five Ferrari 458 GT3 entries, however only four participated, as although the # 27 Sport Garage example was in the paddock, and entered for Gilles Duqueine and Jacques Villeneuve to drive, it didn’t take to the track. The series attracts some well known drivers, apart from the already mentioned 1997 F1 World Champion, Jacques Villeneuve, others included ex- Ligier, Prost, BAR and Toyota F1 driver Olivier Panis, incidentally the last French driver to win a F1 Grand Prix, Anthony Beltoise, Soheil Ayari, David Hallyday and Marc Sourd.

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The series has two qualifying sessions, one for each of the two drivers, and in the first session it was the # 12 ART Grand Prix entered McLaren MP4-12C driven by Gregoire Demoustier that headed the times, followed by the # 16 Sofrev ASP Ferrari 458 GT3 driven by Fabien Barthez and the # 8 Sebastien Loeb Racing McLaren MP4-12C driven by Laurent Pasqual. In the second session, the only car in the top three from the first session was the # 16 Sofrev ASP Ferrari 458 GT3 driven this time by Morgan Moullin Traffort, which was quickest, followed by the # 42 Audi R8 LMS driven by Gregory Guilvert, and the # 1 Porsche 911 GT3 of Franck Perera. In the first session less than 1sec covered the top four qualifiers, whilst in the second session virtually the same time span covered the top eight qualifiers.

Race 1 saw victory go to the 2nd quickest session 1 qualifying # 16 Sofrev ASP Ferrari of Barthez / Moulin Traffort, followed home by the pair of ART Grand Prix McLaren MP4-12Cs, with the # 12 example of Demoustier / Amado just beating the # 11 car of Vannelet / Leclerc to the chequered flag. In the second race on Sunday, the # 16 Sofrev ASP Ferrari of Barthez / Moulin Traffort had to give best to the sister # 20 car of Beaubelique / Ayari, with another McLaren MP4-12C filling out the podium, this time it was the # 8 example from Sebastien Loeb Racing driven by Pasquali/Beltoise. In both races the fastest lap went to the # 20 Ferrari 458 GT3 driven by Soheil Ayari. Victory in the Coupe de France class went to the # 3 Pro GT by Almeras Porsche 911 GT3 of France / Morel in race 1, whilst in the second race it was the # 50 JMB Racing Ferrari 458 GT3 of Madelaine / Rodrigues that took the victors laurels.

FFSA – Championnat de France GT & FFSA – Coupe de France R

# Model Chassis # Team Colour Drivers Position        R1 R2
16 458 GT3 3294 Sofrev ASP Red-Black F. Barthez/  M. Moullin Traffort 1st 2nd
20 458 GT3 3216 Sofrev ASP Red-Black J-L. Baubelique/  S. Ayari 8th 1st
27 458 GT3 3296 Sport Garage Red-Blue-White- Dark Grey E. Cayrolle/  J. Villeneuve DNS DNS
28 458 GT3 3416 Sport Garage Red-Blue-White- Dark Grey G. Duqueine/ L. Groppi 10th 10th
50* 458 GT3 3210 JMB Racing Red P. Madelaine/  M. Rodrigues 15th 2nd C 14th 1st C

*Coupe de France

Keith Bluemel