Last weekend the competitors in the French Carrera Cup travelled to Nevers Magny-Cours for the fourth race meeting of the 2017 season, for rounds six and seven of the Porsche Carrera Cup France.
The series accompanied the newly created GT4 Southern Cup and other French racing series. The 4.4km racetrack located in the centre of France, hosted the French Formula 1 Grand Prix until 2008. Its layout, with all different sorts of corners, is a real challenge for the team engineers in their search of the best balance and car setups.
On Saturday morning, Florian Lattore (Martinet by Alméras) claimed his fourth consecutive pole position of the season (1:42.226) in front of teammate and points leader Julien Andlauer (1:42.232 only 0.006 secs behind). Julien Beltoise (Saintéloc) and Joffrey de Narda (Sébastien Loeb Racing) started from the second row of the grid. The first seven drivers of the qualifying session were grouped within a second of each other, confirming the high level of competition in the French Carrera Cup.
When the lights went green (after an unusual long time), Vincent Beltoise made an excellent start and took the early lead in the race from Andlauer. Joffrey de Narda was third and pole-sitter Latorre fourth at the end of the first lap. But by the second lap of the race Julien Andlauer overtook Beltoise at the exit of Adelaide hairpin. The next lap Joffrey de Narda did the same at the same place and managed to take the second place from Beltoise who damaged the right front of the car while trying to resist to the attack. In the B class (gentleman drivers), Christophe Lapierre (Sébastien Loeb Racing) took the lead at the halfway mark from Nicolas Misslin (Martinet by Alméras) also at the Adelaide hairpin. Lapierre recovered his lead after he had completely missed the start, although he was qualified at the top of the B class.
With ten minutes to go, Andlauer, De Narda and Latorre were running together at the front of the field, separated by only 0.3 sec. With just eight minutes remaining, Florian Latorre moved up to second after De Narda went wide at the entry of the Estoril bend.
Thus, the standings from the first race were: 1st Andlauer; 2nd Latorre; 3rd De Narda; 4th Ayhacan Guven (Attempto Racing) and first of the rookies.
The second race took place on Sunday afternoon under a cloudy sky and under the threat of the rain. Pole-sitter once again was Florian Latorre (1:42.413) followed by De Narda (1:42.792) and Julien Andlauer (1:42.882). Right after the start, Joffrey de Narda took the lead in the race with a perfect entry at the first left corner after the start/finish straight. Just behind, Florian Lotorre was under attack from teammate Julien Andlauer, Valentin Hasse-Clot (Sébastien Loeb Racing) and Vincent Beltoise. Arriving at the 180° corner, Andlauer went wide and off the track, but managed to get back in the race in the fifth place. Five minutes after the start, the first drops of the rain appeared and as a consequence the track become slippery, but not wet. In these conditions, Christophe Lapierre had a spin and lost his lead in the B class to teammate Roar Lindland.
With twelve minutes remaining Julien Andlauer, very determined to recover from his mistake, overtook Hasse-Clot at the first corner to take third place, while in front Latorre pushed very hard to keep the pace of race leader De Narda.
Towards the end of the race the top three were running within a second of each other, and although Latorre was very close at the Adelaide hairpin, De Narda managed his position very well to keep his lead, making no mistakes.
He wins the first race of the season and maintains his chances in the battle for the title (with 112 points from 125 to points leader Andlauer). Florian Latorre, second in the second race, is third in the overall standings with 105 points. In the B class the points leader Lapierre (129 points) is followed by Misslin (124 points) and Roar Lindland (110). The rookies challenge is led by Valentin Hasse-Clot (79 points), followed by Antoine Jung (55 points) and Turkish driver Ayhancan Guven (54 pts).
The next rounds will take place at Barcelona, from 29th to 1st October, 2017.
Written by: Lucian Sonea
Images by: Porsche/Alexis Goure