The last meeting of the Porsche Carrera Cup France took place at the Paul Ricard Le Castellet circuit, in the South of France. The weekend format was the same as during the season (only Le Mans was different because of accompanying the 24-hour race): qualifying and 30 minutes of race on Saturday (race 1), qualifying 2 and race 2 on Sunday. The 5.842km layout of the high-tech race track was used this time and the weather conditions were perfect during the three days.
The meeting was part of the French GT4 Championship meeting and the last round of 2017 circuit racing series in France.
The weekend was the title decider and everyone was expecting the last episode of the battle between Julien Andlauer (Martinet by Alméras) and Joffrey de Narda (Sebastien Loeb Racing), to be a tight but entertaining contest.
With an amazing series of pole positions this season, Florian Latorre (Martinet by Alméras) set another one for the first race at Paul Ricard (2:09.083) followed only 0.079 sec behind by Vincent Beltoise (Saintéloc) (2:09.162), title contender Julien Andlauer (2:09.327) and Turkish rookie Ayhancan Güven (Attempto Racing) (2:09.354). The other title contender, Joffrey de Narda (Sebastien Loeb Racing) (2:09.484) was fifth on the grid.
Despite a good start from the pole, Florian Latorre tried to keep a good pace but Julien Andlauer passed Vincent Beltoise and attacked Latorre for the lead on the third lap, at the entry of the chicane, in the middle of the long Mistral straight. The result of the attack was Latorre spinning his car out. He returned to the race, but down in last place.
Andlauer drove a faultless race to victory, followed by Beltoise and De Narda. The two rookies Güven and Valentin Hasse-Clot (Sébastien Loeb Racing) had a spectacular battle right up to the end of the race, finishing fifth and sixth. Nicolas Misslin (Martinet by Alméras) (first in the B class) and Christophe Lapierrre (Sébastien Loeb Racing) finished sixth and seventh. In the end, Florian Latorre finished eight after a series of spectacular overtaking manoeuvres in the field.
For his ninth consecutive pole position this season, Florian Latorre was finally rewarded with his first win in the Porsche Carrera Cup France. On the first lap Güven and Hasse-Clot collided which resulted in Valentin Hasse-Clot spinning and resuming the race from the last place. He finished tenth at the end of the race.
Latorre tried hard to keep up the pace and managed to maintain his lead, and by mid race, was followed by Vincent Beltoise, Joffrey de Narda, Ayhancan Güven, Julien Andlauer, Jimmy Antunes (Racing Technology) and Lucile Cypriano (Racing Technology).
After an entertaining and spectacular battle, Joffrey de Narda passed Beltoise for second place which he kept to the end, despite trying hard to catch Latorre. With Andlauer fifth, the only chance De Narda had to win the championship was by winning the race.
On the last laps of the race Ayhacan Güven and Vincent Beltoise put on a good show, as they battled for third place until the last corner (with the advantage going to Beltoise). When the flag fell, Latorre won by more than nine seconds from De Narda and 13 seconds from Beltoise.
There was big drama at the beginning of the race for Class B points leader Christophe Lapierre, as he couldn’t start the race because of technical problems. Egidio Perfetti finally won the gentleman class (B) (second win after Dijon) ahead of Roar Lindland and Thomas Nicolle. Christophe Lapierre is the 2017 class B Champion as title rival Nicolas Misslin hit technical trouble as well, and lost a lap during the second race.
For his second season in Porsche Carrera Cup, Julian Andlauer (18 years old) finished fifth in Race 2, and was crowned the 2017 champion – the youngest in the 31 years of the Porsche Carrera Cup France.
Team Martinet by Alméras is the 2017 teams’ champion thanks to the joint winning results of Julien Andlauer and of team mate Florian Latorre.
2017 Porsche Carrera Cup France
|2||Joffrey de Narda||178|
Class B standings
|1||Martinet by Alméras||346|
|2||Sébastien Loeb Racing||302|
Written by: Lucian Sonea
Images by: Porsche/Alexis Goure