It’s the period of exams for the young drivers of Auto Sport Academy: certificate of general education, baccalaureate… but this weekend, no revisions but place to action! Under the scorching heat, the drivers settle onto the starting grid of the first race. Nineteen of them are present, Josh Fielding unfortunately not being able to continue his season. In top position, Matthieu Vaxivière, leader of the Championship who shoots off. A little too much as he gets a drive-through penalty. Whilst carrying out his penalty, Andréa Pizzitola takes the advantage in front of Tristan Papavoine, author of a wonderful departure with two places gained, Cyril Raymond and Pierre Sancinéna fighting over 3rd position.
A few yards away from them, Aurélien Panis is watching carefully and seems to be ready to seize the slightest opportunity. However, he must keep a close eye on Pierre Gasly. A little farther, the Spaniard Francisco-Javier Suarez, the Finn Patrick Kujala, the Belgian Kévin Balthazar and the Indian Parth Ghorpade are all racing close to each other and remain within reach of points for the moment. At the doors of the Top Ten, Paul Petit thinks to himself that he would like to open his counter of points and begins tickling the Indian driver. But he must also be careful of the Spaniard Victor Colomé who moved back at the beginning of race and who is now coming back up little by little. This is confirmed a few laps later. The three last stated drivers are all very close to each other. One thing is certain, fights are the main occupation at all levels of the group but our attention is concentrated on the battle between Cyril Raymond and Pierre Sancinéna. The latter multiplies his attacks but in vain. At mid-race, he is finally able to take advantage and leaves Cyril Raymond within the hands of Aurélien Panis. A little farther, Pierre Gasly speeds up to catch up on him but mostly to get rid of Suarez, Kujala and Balthazar who are following him very closely.
With at last two seconds advance, Andréa Pizzitola is able to breath calmly but does not release pressure for the least, as he must keep a close eye on Tristan Papavoine who is well at ease on the Vigeant track. At the same moment, Matthieu Vaxivière who, in spite of his penalty, had chosen to continue his race, bumped into Alex Loan Ventura and both drivers has to end their race there. They joined the list of abandons opened by Alexandre Mantovani who was not even able to finish his first lap, betrayed by his car.
Whilst the gaps stabilize themselves at the head of the race and that all seems to be settled, Pierre Sancinéna maintains the suspense by coming dangerously close to Tristan Papavoine. A little farther, Francisco-Javier Suarez is now behind Patrick Kujala and Kévin Balthazar. Two laps away from the checkered flag, Pierre Sancinéna has managed to link up with Tristan Papavoine but even though he is in his wheels, he is not able to overtake him. Paul Petit achieved his aim as he closes the Top Ten. It’s now up to the German Alexander Boquoi and the feminine Marie Baus-Coppens to do the same. Maybe tomorrow?
Andréa Pizzitola: « Matthieu’s penalty changed the order and once at the head of the group, I had to seriously put my foot down in order to build the gap. Even though I was able to do so, it remained a difficult race. I am very pleased to climb onto the first step of the podium once again, especially after such a catastrophic weekend in the streets of Pau. »
Tristan Papavoine: « I was able to manage my departure perfectly well and it’s true that the race was very intense. I am more than happy of this result which is important for the Championship. »
Pierre Sancinéna: « When you leave in 4th position, the main objective is of course to climb onto the podium. It wasn’t easy at all! The fight with Cyril was intense but at mid-race, I was able to overtake him at the end of the straight line. I had to continue my efforts throughout the entire race. Towards the end, I was able to get close to Tristan but I lacked time. This 3rd position is very satisfying and will help for the Championship. »
F4 magazine - GT Tour (Round 1) : Le Mans