Saintéloc Racing’s Fabian Michal and Grégory Guilvert claimed the Pro Am Cup pole positions during today’s GT4 South European Series qualifying session at Circuit Paul Armagnac, while there were also Am Cup and GTC poles for Alex Van Straaten/Rémi Van Straaten (Alpine A110 GT4 / Mirage Racing) and Marmaduke Hall/Edward Moore (Ginetta G50 / Tockwith Motorsport).
Q1: Michal confirms Santéloc Racing Audi potential
A Saintéloc Racing promised a lot in free practice and delivered in qualifying, taking the two pole-positions in the inaugural GT4 South European Series weekend at Coupes de Pâques in Nogaro.
The French team have been showing its strong pace at the Circuit Paul Armagnac, posting the best lap times in all the free practice sessions. However Saintéloc Racing Audis faced a strong opposition for the top grid positions.
In the first qualifying reserved to the lower rank drivers, Fabien Michal (Audi R8 LMS / Saintéloc Racing) wasted no time stamping his authority on proceedings by producing his best lap on his second time around. Robert Consani (Alpine A110 GT4 / Team Speed Car) came closest to toppling the French, but his best effort ultimately fell just 0.081s short.
The Alpine showed a stronger form from the free practice to qualifying with Benoit Lison (Alpine A110 GT4 / Mirage Racing) slotted into third. Eric Debard (Audi R8 LMS / Saintéloc Racing) was another 0.01s further back in fourth.
Marmaduke Hall (Ginetta G50 GT4 / Tockwith Racing) put up an extraordinary performance today, placing his GTC car fifth in the GT4 South European Series overall classification, close followed by Miguel Cristóvão (Mercedes-AMG GT4 / Veloso Motorsport), who struggled with the traffic, and Olivier Esteves (Audi R8 LMS - Saintéloc Racing).
Cristophe Vernet (Ginetta G55 GT4 / ABM Grand Prix) completes the top-eight ahead of Axel Van Straaten (Alpine A110 GT4 / Mirage Racing), who was the fastest of the Am Cup.
Q2: Saintéloc Racing Audis battle each other
In the second 15-minute qualifying session it was Grégory Guilvert (Audi R8 LMS / Saintéloc Racing) who made good on his free practice promise by claiming pole position for Race 2. The reigning GT4 France champion faced a strong opposition from his teammate Simon Gachet (Audi R8 LMS / Saintéloc Racing) by 0.2s.
Vincent Beltoise (Alpine A110 GT4 / Mirage Racing) secured the third fastest time, falling just 0.6s short from the pole-sitter, and close followed by his cousin Anthony Beltoise (Audi R8 LMS / Saintéloc Racing).
Benjamin Lariche (Alpine A110 GT4 / Team Speed Car) was never able to join the pole-position battle, having to settle to P5. Francisco Abreu (Mercedes-AMG GT4 / Veloso Motorsport) qualified sixth, ahead of the Am Cup class competitors, Rémi Van Straaten (Alpine A110 GT4 / Mirage Racing).
Not too far from Van Straaten brother’s Alpine finished Edward Moore (Ginetta G50 / Tockwith Motorsport) and GT4 rookie Pierre-André Nicolas (Ginetta G55 GT4 / ABM Grand Prix).
Race 1 starts at 15:45 (GMT) tomorrow. Race 2 starts at 14:55 on Monday. Races will be streamed live on the championship’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/GT4SouthEuropean.
Fabian Michal (1st Pro Am – Qualifying 1): “I’m really happy with my result. It wasn’t easy to come up with this lap as on my quick lap I was slowed down by the traffic. We will be working as hard as we can to make sure we have two good races.”
Grégory Guilvert (1st Pro Am – Qualifying 2): “The team did a great job today. We have been champions with them last year in GT4 France and the car is really fast especially in qualifying. The qualifying window is really tricky as we have only two laps to make a good lap. I got a clean lap and I am quite happy with the result.”
Rémi van Straten (1st Am – Qualifying 1): “This is our first time in a GT4 race and I’m quite happy with this first position in the category. We have been improving our pace since the weekend start. The goal of the weekend is to keep this constant progression and hopefully go on the podium.”
Axel van Straaten (1st Am – Qualifying 2): “We’re quite happy with what we’ve achieved today. The car is very good and the performance with new tires was superb. Our strong regularity can help us tomorrow to do something nice but in pure pace we still have a lot to do.”
Marmaduke Hall (1st GTC – Qualifying 1): “We have come to the weekend unsure what to expect. I’m happy with the qualifying. We turned up yesterday, and that is our first time at the track. It is being the case of getting used to it and to the new tires. We’ve no expectations for tomorrow. We take as it comes and try our best and see what happens.”
Edward Moore (1st GTC – Qualifying 2): “Like my teammate said before we came to the weekend a little bit blind. It is a little bit different from all we have done in UK before. The car seems to be going well so let’s see how it goes tomorrow.”