Alex Buncombe, Mark Shulzhitskiy and Steve Doherty took the No.32 Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 to second place in class at round three of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Paul Ricard this afternoon. Nissan GT Academy Team RJN now has a clear lead in the Pro-Am championship class.
This was the first event with the shuffled Nismo Athlete line up and mixing up the squads has produced two equally competitive driving crews. The No.35 GT-R came out on top in qualifying, taking 14th on the grid, which was fourth in the Pro Am class, with No.32 not far behind, eighth in class.
Wolfgang Reip was behind the wheel of No.35 for the race start and the Belgian driver had a good run, bringing the GT-R back after an hour of hard racing in one piece. It was then Peter Pyzera’s turn and he continued the good work started by Wolfie.
During Peter’s run he radioed in to say he had been hit by a BMW as both cars went through the hairpin but all was well with the car and he continued. Unfortunately damage had been done. It just hadn’t showed itself yet.
Lucas Ordonez was up next and looking forward to a good stint after a very strong showing during the practice sessions. It wasn’t to be though as, just three laps into his run, he radioed in to say he had a puncture. He pitted so that the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN crew could investigate but the puncture was a result of the earlier contact and the only option was to retire the car.
All of the team’s hopes were now on the No.32 Nissan GT-R. Alex Buncombe hauled the car up through the grid at the start but had to pit earlier than planned when he too got a puncture.
This was a good old-fashioned puncture, most likely caused by debris on the track, so Mark Shultzhitskiy was soon on his way to join the race. An excellent run from Mark was followed by a great job from Steve Doherty who brought the GT-R home in second place in class.
“All of the drivers did a good job today,” said team boss Bob Neville. “The events of this morning were very sad and I think it was a sensible decision to start the race behind the safety car.
Consistency paid off for the No.32 car and it was good to see Alex, Mark and Steve on the podium, albeit for rather muted celebrations. It was a shame for the guys in No.35 but the pace in that car was great so we’re looking forward now to the Spa 24 Hours.”
Congratulations were in order today for the JRM Racing team who took a podium in the Pro category when Peter Dumbreck, Lucas Luhr and Steven Kane raced their Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 to third place overall.
Nissan GT Academy Team RJN heads directly to Spa now for a one-day official test this Wednesday before heading to Zandvoort in Holland for the next round of the FIA GT Series in just a few days time.