4 heures V de V de Jarama  - Challenge Endurance Proto V de V

4 heures V de V de Jarama - Challenge Endurance Proto V de V

31.03.2010: The French drivers were unable to pull off a grand slam like their rugby colleagues, for it was an English victory that sealed this opening race. We had a presentiment of this last year, with Simon Dolan and Sam Hancock

“France – England, one all!”


The French drivers were unable to pull off a grand slam like their rugby colleagues, for it was an English victory that sealed this opening race. We had a presentiment of this last year, with Simon Dolan and Sam Hancock clearly showing their winning potential in their Ligier JS49 Jota Sport. Their win was beautiful in its decisiveness.




The rain that started to fall just before the start sowed chaos on the grid, with many teams hesitating on the choice of tyres. Some, like the car on pole position (put there by Grégory Fargier’s qualifying time and driven by Léo Van Sande), wanted to make a last-minute change, but found that the pit lane had closed. David Zollinger took a clear lead from the start, followed by Philippe Haezebrouck in the Ligier JS 51 that he was sharing with Philippe Alliot.

The main rival to the reigning champion, Fabien Rosier, quickly overtook Haezebrouck and soon became a clear threat. Behind them, track conditions were rather tricky, although the rain soon stopped. Romain Lannetta, William Cavailhes and José Ibanez started from the pit-lane, but were able to take advantage of the safety car to quickly make their way up the pack.

Loïc Deman jumped into the Ligier JS51 for a superb first relay in the wake of Haezebrouck, followed by Bruno Bazaud, who very quickly pulled back on the Norma M20 F. Ten cars were on the same lap and were often grouped together by the frequent reappearances of the safety car. After an hour and a half of racing, the first five cars of Zollinger, Rosier, Haezebrouck, Deman and Ibanez found themselves very close together. Ibanez was in splendid form, attacking his rivals lap after lap, but had a slight collision with Zollinger as he overtook him to take the lead. The two cars had to shift down and Ibanez was obliged to return to the pits to get his radiator repaired.

As the halfway point approached, the teams prepared for a driver change, with some cars having taken advantage of the safety car to modify their refuelling strategy. Philippe Mondolot took the relay from David Zollinger at the head of the race, followed by Philippe Alliot and François Guillet-Arnaud, who was now threatened by Simon Dolan and Marc Faggionato, both of whom had made the most of the various race incidents to pull back up the pack. Simon Dolan took the lead and drove for a long as possible before handing the wheel to Sam Hancock after two hours of perfect racing.

Sam Hancock retained the lead in front of François Guillet-Arnaud, Philippe Mondolot, Jean-Marc Menahem (who had relayed Faggionato) and Philippe Thirion (who had replaced Bazaud). Twenty laps from the finish, the race-leading Ligier stopped to put enough in the tank to finish, leaving the pits in third but taking second back from the Norma Extrême Limite, that had stopped on the track. Sam Hancock then attacked Mondolot’s Norma to take the lead once more and swipe the chequered flag in front of reigning champions David Zollinger and Philippe Mondolot.

 Behind them, Philippe Alliot had suffered a broken exhaust pipe and a small fire, gifting third place to Jean-Marc Menahem. The Palmyr team was therefore able to place two cars on the podium and see their driver Marc Faggionato take victory in the Gentlemen Drivers ranking.

The Juno SSE of the Brits Tony Freeman and Duncan Williams took second in the Gentlemen Drivers ranking and were placed first in Category B in front of the Norma M20 of Philippe Papin and Max Cohen-Olivar. Gérard Le Corre and Jean-François Yvon rounded off the Gentlemen Drivers podium in the third Norma Palmyr.

Finally, the former Formula 1 driver Alex Caffi, who started out racing in LD Autosport’s Norma M20 F, recorded an honourable tenth place overall with his compatriot Maurizio Fratti, having methodically adapted to the different driving style compared with the GTs that they have been used to driving for several years now.


The next Challenge Endurance Proto race will draw many teams from across Europe to enjoy the wonderful Mugello track on 16, 17 and 18 April.




- Marion Scaramella - photo VdeV

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31.03.2010 / MaP

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