Blancpain GT Paul Ricard 1000km: Garage 59 McLaren denies Ferrari

Garage 59 McLaren trio Rob Bell, Come Ledogar and Shane van Gisbergen held off a charging Alessandro Pier Guidi in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup's Paul Ricard 1000km

Blancpain GT Paul Ricard 1000km: Garage 59 McLaren denies Ferrari

The McLaren 650 S GT3 was rarely the fastest car in a race that looked destined to be heading the way of Bentley, but its crew crucially made fewer mistakes and now hold the championship lead heading into the Spa 24 Hours after their second win of 2016.

The six-hour race was ultimately decided in Garage 59's favour by a flurry of activity shortly before the five-hour mark, which coincided with a debris-induced full course yellow.

M-Sport and Garage 59 reacted to the caution by bringing Andy Soucek and van Gisbergen in for their final stops at the same time, while AF Corse left Pier Guidi's Ferrari out.

This would have set up a battle to the finish between the two British marques, but Soucek's Bentley Continental GT3 caught fire in the pits and lost almost a full lap before rejoining a frustrated fourth.

Once Pier Guidi had emerged from his own final stop under green, van Gisbergen inherited a comfortable lead that he kept to the flag, although Pier Guidi gave spirited chase and finished just 3.4 seconds in arrears.

Despite starting 20th, the WRT Audi shared by a guesting Jan Magnussen, Filipe Albuquerque and Rodrigo Baptista completed the podium ahead of Soucek's recovering Bentley, which had led for much of the race in the hands of Wolfgang Reip and Maxime Soulet despite serving a drive-through penalty for a full course yellow infringement.

Their sister car had also led in the early stages with Guy Smith at the wheel, but worsening ABS problems required a lengthy pitstop that meant they could only recover to 13th.

An unscheduled late stop for Yelmer Buurman's Black Falcon Mercedes promoted the RJN Nissan to fifth, despite a spin for Mitsunori Takaboshi in the early stages.

Elsewhere, it was a difficult day for the championship contenders.

A lack of straightline speed had blunted Mercedes' attack all day, but a clever strategy had put erstwhile points leader HTP into fourth when Maxi Buhk ground to a halt on the Mistral with gearbox problems.

WRT was unable to capitalise on HTP's misfortune and could only salvage 19th after Dries Vanthoor came off second best in light contact with Ledogar during the middle portion of the race.

The Kessel Racing Ferrari took also took a second victory of the season in the Pro-Am division, as Michal Broniszewski, Alessandro Bonacini and Andrea Rizzoli held off the challenge of AF Corse's Matt Griffin, Duncan Cameron and Davide Rizzo.

RESULTS - 165 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 S.Gisbergen, C.Ledogar, R.Bell Garage 59 McLaren 6h00m46.072s
2 P.Lathouras, A.P.Guidi, M.Rugolo AF Corse Ferrari 3.376s
3 R.Baptista, J.Magnussen, F.Albuquerque Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi 1m38.158s
4 A.Soucek, W.Reip, M.Soulet Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley 1m49.355s
5 L.Ordonez, M.Takaboshi, A.Buncombe Nissan GT Academy Team RJN Nissan 1 Lap
6 G.Guilvert, M.Parisy, C.Haase Sainteloc Racing Audi 1 Lap
7 W.Stevens, A.Garcia, R.Rast Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi 1 Lap
8 M.Broniszewski, A.Bonacini, A.Rizzoli Kessel Racing Ferrari 1 Lap
9 D.Rizzo, D.Cameron, M.Griffin AF Corse Ferrari 1 Lap
10 F.Babini, P.Niederhauser, D.Zampieri Attempto Racing Lamborghini 2 Laps
11 F.Salaquarda, M.Stockinger, F.Stippler ISR Audi 2 Laps
12 L.Machitski, P.Keen, M.Mapelli Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini 2 Laps
13 G.Smith, V.Abril, S.Kane Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley 2 Laps
14 S.Moore, A.Fontana, A.Watson Garage 59 McLaren 2 Laps
15 H.Hassid, P.Giauque, F.Perera ISR Audi 2 Laps
16 M.van Splunteren, P.van Splunteren, J.Mul Attempto Racing Lamborghini 3 Laps
17 O.Morley, M.Toril, M.Engel Black Falcon Mercedes 3 Laps
18 D.Perfetti, L.Cazenave, M.Lyons Akka ASP Team Mercedes 3 Laps
19 D.Vanthoor, F.Vervisch, L.Vanthoor Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi 3 Laps
20 K.Ojjeh, J.Darras, O.Grotz Boutsen Ginion Racing BMW 4 Laps
21 V.Pierburg, L.D.Arnold, A.Muller SPS automotive performance Mercedes 4 Laps
22 M.Zanuttini, V.Gitlin, L.Talbot Kessel Racing Ferrari 4 Laps
23 T.Cornac, R.Narac, M.Jousse IMSA Performance Porsche 4 Laps
24 M.Ricci, J-L.Beaubelique, G.Vannelet Akka ASP Team Mercedes 5 Laps
25 M.Ishikawa, L.Bontempelli, O.Beretta AF Corse Ferrari 5 Laps
26 C.Kelders, M.Rostan, M.Bonanomi Sainteloc Racing Audi 6 Laps
27 R.Brandela, C.Hamon, T.Nicolle Classic & Modern Racing Ferrari 6 Laps
28 S.Earle, B.Delhez, D.Perel Kessel Racing Ferrari 7 Laps
29 P.Mann, F.Guedes, R.Mastronardi AF Corse Ferrari 7 Laps
30 M.Koebolt, G.Roda, S.Colombo BMW Team Italia BMW 7 Laps
31 M.Konopka, A.Lewandowski, T.Myszkowski ARC Bratislava Lamborghini 8 Laps
32 C.Cooper, C.Harris, D.Pierce Team Parker Racing Bentley 10 Laps
33 A.Al Harthy, D.Modell, J.Adam Oman Racing Team Aston Martin 12 Laps
34 H.Haupt, A.Simonsen, A.Christodoulou Black Falcon Mercedes 14 Laps
35 A.Al Faisal, B.Schneider, Y.Buurman AMG - Team Black Falcon Mercedes 15 Laps
36 N.Melin, R.Ricci, T.Filler Classic & Modern Racing Ferrari 15 Laps
37 M.Simmons, R.Sarazin, S.Walkinshaw Nissan GT Academy Team RJN Nissan 18 Laps
38 S.Parrow, A.Mattschull, D.Schwager Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 30 Laps
39 M.Cerruti, R.Giannoni, A.Di Folco Antonelli Motorsport Lamborghini 30 Laps
40 M.Beretta, A.Piccini, L.Stolz GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini 34 Laps
41 M.Beretta, G.Berton, S.Costantini Ombra Racing Lamborghini 41 Laps
42 L.Frey, S.Ortelli, A.Costa Emil Frey Racing Jaguar 42 Laps
43 L.Bacheta, I.Dontje, C.Schmid HTP Motorsport Mercedes 46 Laps
- C.Hohenadel, T.Jager, J.Szymkowiak AMG - Team HTP Motorsport Mercedes Retirement
- D.Baumann, J.Jaafar, M.Buhk AMG - Team HTP Motorsport Mercedes Retirement
- R.Ineichen, J.Bleekemolen, M.Bortolotti GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Retirement
- A.Moiseev, S.Lemeret AF Corse Ferrari Retirement
- S.Kox, J.Pisarik, M.Malucelli Scuderia Praha Ferrari Retirement
- S.Leonard, M.Meadows, R.Frijns Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi Retirement
- L.Luhr, J.Klingmann, D.Werner Rowe Racing BMW Retirement
- E.P.Companc, R.Giammaria, A.Balzan AF Corse Ferrari Retirement
- M.M.Traffort, R.van der Zande, T.Vautier Akka ASP Team Mercedes Retirement
- I.Loggie, C.MacLeod, T.O.-Cole Team Parker Racing Bentley Retirement
- C.Mateu, J.Haring, N.Armindo Attempto Racing Porsche Retirement
- S.Dusseldorp, P.Eng, A.Sims Rowe Racing BMW Retirement
- A.De Leener, P.Kox, P.Kaffer Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi Retirement
- P.Ehret, R.Salikhov Rinaldi Racing Ferrari Retirement


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