Nogaro: Alex Davison race report

ALEX DAVISON WINS ON DEBUT IN FIA GT CHAMPIONSHIP Alex Davison has made a stunning debut in the FIA GT Championship, winning the GT2 class at the Nogaro circuit in France overnight, in a one-off drive. Davison was drafted in by Belgian outfit...

ALEX DAVISON WINS ON DEBUT IN FIA GT CHAMPIONSHIP

Alex Davison has made a stunning debut in the FIA GT Championship, winning the GT2 class at the Nogaro circuit in France overnight, in a one-off drive.

Davison was drafted in by Belgian outfit ProSpeed Competition to partner Richard Westbrook in the team's Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, deputising for regular driver Emmanuel Collard who was competing in America.

The pair took a thrilling GT2 victory in Round Eight of the competitive sportscar championship.

Coming just one week before he'll tackle the Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercar endurance race in Australia, the win is Davison's second of the year and his first in Europe.

"To come here for a one-off drive and win feels great," Davison enthused.

"It's my first major win of the year; I'm rapt with how the weekend went.

"The ProSpeed guys did such a fantastic job and they were great to work with, the car was strong in the race and Richard and I made a good combination."

Westbrook claimed the GT2 pole position and started the two-hour race strongly.

The Belgian driver built a comfortable lead before starting to encounter tyre degradation and dropping to second place before the team's first compulsory pitstop.

After a swift change, Davison joined the race in the class lead and quickly set about building an advantage.

Up against drivers who run in the series fulltime, the Australian was the fastest GT2 competitor on track and set the #61 Porsche's fastest lap of the race.

By the time he pitted for the second compulsory pitstop and driver change, Davison had opened a seven-second lead.

A quick pitstop by the Ferrari team of Gimmi Bruni and Toni Vilander saw them take the effective GT2 class lead after the second round of pitstops, with Westbrook in hot pursuit.

With a gaggle of Ferraris behind him, Westbrook's efforts weren't aided by contact from a lapped Aston Martin, damaging the ProSpeed Porsche's rear suspension.

As the race entered its final stages, Bruni began to struggle with tyre wear, allowing Westbrook to reduce his lead.

In a dramatic finish, he passed Bruni on the final lap to take the GT2 win by just over one tenth of a second, with the Top Three covered by 0.7 of a second.

"Richard put in a good first stint before starting to struggle with tyre wear, Nogaro has a really abrasive surface," Davison said.

"When I got in the car, I was able pull away from the Ferraris and rebuild our lead to seven seconds by the time I pitted for our last stop, which was really satisfying.

"We somehow lost the lead to Bruni in the last pitstop shuffle, but Richard was able to reduce Bruni's lead in the closing laps, despite the contact when lapping the Aston Martin.

"It was close at the end and he passed him on the last lap to take the win, which was really exciting for the whole team."

The win, ProSpeed Competition's second of the year, helps the team move closer to third place in the GT2 team's standings.

Immediately after standing on top of the podium - unable to stay for the post-race press conference - Davison drove from Nogaro to Tolouse Airport to start his long trip to Australia for the Bathurst 1000.

From Tolouse, Davison flew to Frankfurt, Germany, to board a connecting flight to Melbourne.

After landing in his hometown on Tuesday morning, he will drive to Bathurst to partner Fabian Coulthard in the Glenfords Racing Falcon this weekend.

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Emmanuel Collard , Fabian Coulthard , Alex Davison , Toni Vilander , Richard Westbrook