The two opening sessions of the French round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Circuit Paul Ricard were dominated by drivers from the Pro-Am category. In the morning free practice session Franck Perera set the quickest time in his #93 Pro GT by Almeras Porsche, Marco Frezza with the #11 Kessel Racing Ferrari set the fastest time during the pre-qualifying session in the afternoon. The differences were small however, no less than 19 cars ended up within one second of the quickest car.
Sweltering conditions met the drivers and teams for the opening day of track action at Circuit Paul Ricard, for the third round of the 2014 Blancpain Endurance Series. Two 90-minute sessions were on the programme, free practice in the morning and pre-qualifying in the afternoon.
Franck Perera showed what he was capable of in the morning session, when he took his #93 Pro GT by Almeras Porsche to a 1’57.957 lap time. The Frenchman would be the only driver to break the 1’58 barrier. In the afternoon Perera was again among the frontrunners, setting the second quickest time overall. He was beaten by fellow Pro-Am driver Marco Frezza. The 27-year-old Italian put his #11 Kessel Racing Ferrari 0.044 seconds in front of Perera, clocking a 1’58.158. Right at the end of the pre-qualifying session, Alex Buncombe in the #80 Nissan GT Academy Team RJN Nissan made it a 1-2-3 for the Pro-Am drivers.
Quickest of the drivers in the Pro Cup was Dutchman Stef Dusseldorp in the #85 HTP Motorsport Mercedes, clocking 1’58.296 during the afternoon session. He ended up in fourth overall, one place above Christopher Mies, who in his #3 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi had been quickest in the Pro Cup in the morning session.
Francisco Guedes only needed a couple of laps to set the quickest time in the Gentlemen Trophy, and the Portuguese driver of the #51 AF Corse Ferrari was the only Gentlemen Trophy driver to break the two minute barrier.
The qualifying session at Le Castellet starts on Saturday morning, at 11.20. A pit walk (14.30) and drivers’ autograph session (15.00) are part of the build up to the big race, together with two races for the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo. The three-hour race Blancpain Endurance Series race itself starts at 19.15.