Bentley wins Blancpain GT Series' Paul Ricard 1000km

Bentley took its first Endurance Cup victory in the Blancpain GT Series for three years in Saturday evening's Paul Ricard 1000km

Bentley wins Blancpain GT Series' Paul Ricard 1000km

Andy Soucek, Maxime Soulet and Vincent Abril claimed the win aboard the #8 M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 after six hours of racing in the day-night event.

They triumphed by just over half a minute over the SMP Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 shared by Davide Rigon, Miguel Molina and Viktor Shaytar to take the lead of the championship ahead of the blue riband Spa 24 Hours round next month.

The Ferrari had qualified second and held that position until it lost time during the first round of pitstops and spent rest of the time playing catch-up.

Soulet said: "The car was perfect and everything went according to plan.

"We stopped early under the full course yellow, which was the key today.

"It was a risk, but it paid off."

The winning Bentley was among a raft of cars to make its first pitstop during a full course yellow period shortly after the race was 30 minutes old.

This gave them a crucial advantage over the pole-winning HTP Mercedes-AMG GT3 with which Yelmer Buurman led for the first hour.

The Mercedes, which the Dutchman shared with Adam Christodoulou and Luca Stolz, repeatedly returned to the top of the order as the different strategies cycled through.

It pitted out of the lead with 40 minutes to go, but rejoined in third more than a minute behind the Bentley before retiring.

That allowed the factory WRT Audi R8 LMS driven by Rene Rast, Antonio Garcia and Nico Muller to come through to take third position.

Rast moved the car past Alex Buncombe in the #23 RJN Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 and Daniel Juncadella's Auto Sport Promotion Mercedes in the closing stages to claim the final spot on the podium, albeit 49 seconds behind the Ferrari in second position.

Juncadella and team-mates Renger van der Zande and Felix Serralles took fourth, while Buncombe faded to fifth in the Nissan he shared with Katsumasa Chiyo and Matt Simmons.

The WRT customer Audi driven by Robin Frijns, Jake Dennis and Stuart Leonard took sixth.

The Grasser Lamborghini Huracan GT3 that won the opening two rounds of the Endurance Cup with Mirko Bortolotti, Andrea Caldarelli and Christian Engelhart could only finish 13th after receiving a one-minute stop-go for avoidable contact.

Pro-Am honours went to the Barwell Lamborghini team for a second consecutive BGTS enduro.

Patrick Kujala, Martin Kodric and Adrian Amstutz again took the victory from the TF Sport Aston Martin V12 Vantage, in which Salih Yuloc joined Jonny Adam and Ahmad Al Harthy, though with a bigger margin of victory than at Silverstone in May.

RESULTS - 170 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 A.Soucek, M.Soulet, V.Abril Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley 6h01m17.768s
2 V.Shaytar, M.Molina, D.Rigon SMP Racing Ferrari 29.272s
3 A.Garcia, N.Muller, R.Rast Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi 1m19.230s
4 R.van der Zande, F.Serralles, D.Juncadella Akka ASP Team Mercedes 1m22.658s
5 L.Ordonez, A.Buncombe, K.Chiyo RJN Motorsport Nissan 1m37.964s
6 S.Leonard, J.Dennis, R.Frijns Team WRT Audi 1m55.276s
7 F.Albuquerque, C.Schmid, F.Salaquarda ISR Audi 1m56.528s
8 P.Schothorst, F.Vervisch, C.Mies Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi 1 Lap
9 C.Haase, M.Winkelhock, P.Terting Sainteloc Junior Team Audi 1 Lap
10 E.Mortara, M.Meadows, R.Marciello Akka ASP Team Mercedes 1 Lap
11 M.Simmons, S.Moore, M.Parry RJN Motorsport Nissan 1 Lap
12 A.Amstutz, M.Kodric, P.Kujala Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini 1 Lap
13 A.Caldarelli, C.Engelhart, M.Bortolotti GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini 1 Lap
14 A.Al Harthy, S.Yoluc, J.Adam Oman Racing Team with TF Sport Aston Martin 1 Lap
15 J-L.Beaubelique, N.Bastian, J.Gounon Akka ASP Team Mercedes 2 Laps
16 S.Tordoff, D.Fumanelli, J.Kane Strakka Racing McLaren 2 Laps
17 N.Hommerson, L.Machiels, A.Bertolini Spirit of Race Ferrari 2 Laps
18 K.Heyer, I.Dontje, P.Assenheimer MANN-FILTER Team HTP Motorsport Mercedes 2 Laps
19 A.Mattschull, R.Salikhov, M.Malucelli Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 2 Laps
20 O.Morley, M.Toril, M.Griffin Black Falcon Mercedes 2 Laps
21 N.Pohler, L.Filippi, F.Crestani Lazarus Lamborghini 2 Laps
22 D.Chaponick, B.Sandberg, S.Heckert Black Falcon Mercedes 3 Laps
23 P.Lathouras, M.Rugolo, A.P.Guidi Spirit of Race Ferrari 3 Laps
24 L.Machitski, M.Ramos, R.Abra Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini 3 Laps
25 J.Caygill, H.de Sadeleer, J.Venter Team WRT Audi 4 Laps
26 C.Krognes, M.Jensen, N.Menzel Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW 4 Laps
27 R.Renauer, J.Haring, A.Renauer Herberth Motorsport Porsche 4 Laps
28 J.Duyver, M.Zanuttini, D.Perel Kessel Racing Ferrari 4 Laps
29 J.Green, K.van der Linde, F.Stippler ISR Audi 4 Laps
30 H.Walkenhorst, D.Schiwietz, S.Vancampenh. Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW 4 Laps
31 P.Ehret, R.Penttinen, R.Mastronardi Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 8 Laps
32 M.Broniszewski, A.Rizzoli, M.Cressoni Kessel Racing Ferrari 9 Laps
33 L.Stolz, A.Christodoulou, Y.Buurman Black Falcon Mercedes 17 Laps
34 M.Seefried, J.Hirschi, C.Klien Emil Frey Racing Jaguar 18 Laps
35 G.Smith, O.Jarvis, S.Kane Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley 20 Laps
36 A.Watson, D.Stoneman, J.Jaafar Strakka Racing McLaren 21 Laps
37 S.Costantini, A.Amici, D.Lind Raton Racing Lamborghini 21 Laps
38 C.Fleming, N.Leventis, L.Williamson Strakka Racing McLaren 24 Laps
39 L.Frey, S.Ortelli, A.Costa Emil Frey Racing Jaguar 29 Laps
40 J.Eriksson, M.Buhk, F.Perera HTP Motorsport Mercedes 46 Laps
- G.Piana, H.Haupt, M.Engel Black Falcon Mercedes Retirement
- S.Richelmi, N.Berthon, B.Treluyer Team WRT Audi Retirement
- T.Blomqvist, B.Spengler, M.Palttala Rowe Racing BMW Retirement
- A.Liu, D.Rizzo, T.Vilander AF Corse/Spirit of Race Ferrari Retirement
- G.Guilvert, C.Kelders, M.Rostan Sainteloc Junior Team Audi Retirement
- E.P.Companc, R.Giammaria, N.Siedler GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Retirement
- M.Martin, A.Sims, P.Eng Rowe Racing BMW Retirement
- E.Sandstrom, F.Schiller, D.Baumann HTP Motorsport Mercedes Retirement
- G.Fisichella, M.Cioci, J.Calado Spirit of Race Ferrari Retirement
- B.Baguette, G.Venturini, M.Mapelli Attempto Racing Lamborghini Retirement
- D.Perfetti, L.Badey, A.Fontana Akka ASP Team Mercedes Retirement
- M.Fassler, W.Stevens, D.Vanthoor Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi Retirement
- M.Beretta, S.Gattuso, A.Piccini Ombra Racing Lamborghini Retirement
- B.Delhez, M.Stursberg, G.Vannelet Team HB Racing Lamborghini Retirement
- C.Mateu, G.Maggi, M.van Splunteren Attempto Racing Lamborghini Retirement
- B.Barnicoat, R.Bell, C.Ledogar Strakka Racing McLaren Retirement
- C.Wood, M.Helistekangas, T.Enge Reiter Engineering Lamborghini Retirement
- M.Ishikawa, L.Bontempelli, O.Beretta AF Corse Ferrari Retirement

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Black Falcon Mercedes on pole for Blancpain's Paul Ricard 1000km
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