Ortelli and Guilvert take second in Main Race after finishing fourth in Qualifying Race.
It was an impeccable start of the season for G-Drive Racing in the Blancpain Sprint Series, as the Audi R8 LMS ultra prepared by Team WRT finished fourth in Sunday’s Qualifying Race before clinching a fantastic second in today’s Main Race. Stéphane Ortelli and Grégory Guilvert did a fantastic job and finished only 1.7 seconds behind the winners.
Young Frenchman Grégory Guilvert was subbing in this race for Roman Rusinov, the G-Drive Racing driver, who was taken by his WEC commitments at Silverstone, where he conquered a brilliant LMP2 win with the G-Drive Racing Morgan Nissan.
At Nogaro, the G-Drive colours also shone, with the Audi R8 LMS ultra proving very competitive since free practice. Guilvert later qualified the car in an excellent 6th position on the grid.
Race 1, which took place under the rain, went smoothly for the G-Drive Racing pair, with Ortelli doing the first stint and Guilvert completing the job. Both were always among the front-runners, crossing the line in fifth position but gaining one spot following the disqualification of another car after technical scrutineering.
On Easter Monday, for the Main Race which took place in dry conditions, Grégory Guilvert took an excellent start and fought brilliantly in the initial laps, taking P3 in lap 6 and P2 three laps later. The team decided to delay the pit stop and the driver change as much as possible in order to stay on a clear track and reduce the gap with the leaders.
When Ortelli rejoined the race, the Audi was second, 4.2 seconds behind the leading Mercedes. The Monegasque put on an impressive stint to reduce the final difference to 1.7 seconds and secure a brilliant podium. The second Blancpain Sprint Series round is cheduled on 17-18 May at Brands Hatch, United Kingdom, and will see Roman Rusinov taking his place alongside Stéphane Ortelli.
Stéphane Ortelli: “It was a good weekend for us, and I feel very happy with how the car was performing. In the Main Race, on dry track, we were particularly competitive. Should we have started more up-front, we would have had a chance to win the race. I did my utmost in my stint to reduce the gap, but we would have needed some more laps to catch the Mercedes. This said, we were very consistent and this is a very good start of the season.”
Grégory Guilvert: “I feel very happy with the results. We certainly had a very good car here at Nogaro, and we had a very good pace throughout the weekend, very close to the leaders.”
Vincent Vosse, Team Principal: “The car was competitive, the team did a good job, also winning the prize for the best pit-stop, and Stéphane and Grégory were impeccable all the time. We can be satisfied, it has been a very solid outing for G-Drive Racing.”