Graff takes victory and the LMP3 title in the Ultimate Cup Series Endurance Proto at Le Castellet

Graff takes victory and the LMP3 title in the Ultimate Cup Series Endurance Proto at Le Castellet

14.11.2022: The protagonists of the Endurance Proto ended the weekend in style, but also came to close the 2022 Ultimate Cup Series season. On the occasion of this final round, the drivers were able to compete at the wheel of their sport-prototypes in daylight condit


The protagonists of the Endurance Proto ended the weekend in style, but also came to close the 2022 Ultimate Cup Series season. On the occasion of this final round, the drivers were able to compete at the wheel of their sport-prototypes in daylight conditions, before seeing the visibility change and reaching the finish line at nightfall.



With nearly 20 cars lined up in the straight line of the pits of the Circuit Paul Ricard, the starting grid looked great at the beginning of the afternoon. Following the three qualifying sessions of the previous day, Saturday's pole position was taken by the #16 Graff Ligier JS P320, in which Lucca Allen, Jacopo D'Amato and Louis Rossi achieved the best average time of 1:57.967, just one tenth of a second ahead of the #4/Nielsen Racing Duqueine M30-D08, driven by Matt Bell, Lars Kern and Fidani Orey (1:58.113). A tight hierarchy that heralds a hard-fought race…
 


The Graff's luxury freelancer Louis Rossi, who has come to discover LMP3, is responsible for starting on pole. At the wheel of the #16 Ligier, the former speedway and endurance motorbike racer did not miss a beat when the green flag waved, easily retaining the lead from Fidani Orey and the #4 Duqueine.



Lap after lap, Louis Rossi broke away from the latter, but another car appeared in his rear-view mirrors a few minutes later. It was his team-mate in the n°57 sister car, Eric Trouillet. Although he started from 10th on the grid, Eric Trouillet, who has considerable experience in prototypes, took the lead from Louis Rossi on the 12th lap of the race.



At the end of the first hour, Graff dominated the race with his two LMP3s, separated by just 16 seconds. However, the gap between the two crews was not to remain as small as that, in favour of the trio in the #57 Ligier.



Eric Trouillet, Sébastien Page and the young Spanish prodigy Belén Garcia, a product of the W Series, dominated the rest of the race, never to be troubled again until the chequered flag. Despite a comfortable lead, the Spanish rider worked hard during her stint at the end of the race, in the last hour, to show her potential by setting excellent lap times.
 


At the end of a race led head and shoulders, the trio Trouillet/Page/Garcia made the Graff triumph after having simply led 88 of the 110 laps covered. Belén Garcia is the first woman to win an Ultimate Cup Series race overall, and her first time on the grid! The mixed crew of the #57 Ligier JS P320 beat the #4/Nielsen Racing Duqueine M30-D08 of the Orey/Kern/Bell trio by over a minute.



Louis Rossi and his team-mates Lucca Allen, the championship leader at the start of the weekend, and Jacopo D'Amato, were clearly in with a chance of winning the race, or at least finishing second. Their hopes were dashed by an electronic problem with the Ligier's switch panel with less than 30 minutes to go.



The French team did everything possible to ensure that the Irishman could finally see the chequered flag, albeit far down the order, but in third place in the LMP3 class. Despite this blunder, Lucca Allen was crowned 2022 LMP3 champion..
 


The NP02 category was brilliantly won by Jordan Perroy, Stéphane Panepinto and Jacques Wolff at the end of a perfectly managed race with the Nova Proto NP02 n°2, which finished in third place overall..
 


Mathys Jaubert and Frédéric Croullet were the big favourites at the beginning of the Var weekend with their four successes in five races, and they wanted to finish in the best way. This is what they did by dominating once again the CN category by taking the Norma M20 FC n°72 of ANS Motorsport to the victory, synonymous with the title for both men.


The Nerguti brothers, Dylan and Alban, together with one of the legends of endurance racing, Stéphane Ortelli, achieved their best result of the season by climbing onto the second step of the CN podium for the first time.




GP Motors Sport Series, photos Davy Delien : https://fromsmash.com/gt-endurance-castellet
 


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14.11.2022 / MaP

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