The SRT C5-R of Eric Cayrolle and Laurent Cazenave briefly led Race 1 at Ledenon, but it c
A comfortable win for Saleen in the first race all but negated the argument that preceded the event over the air-restrictor reduction. It appeared that any hopes for a Corvette win would rest on how the lead Oreca car dealt with its 120 kg of ballast.
The start proved fairly quiet, with the PSI Vettes the only cars showing aggression on the track. Bouchut was pushing hard in the C6.R but was unable to make any headway against the lead Oreca Saleen and the Tarres Team Saleen of Thvenin. Slightly behind, Zangarelli had jumped two places to fifth, though within a few laps it was apparent that his C5 could not run with the front runners, and he began to fall back into the clutches of Makowiecki and the Aston.
It was 20 minutes before Makowiecki was able to get past, but the conservative pace of the front runners had left him only four seconds behind the fourth-place Saleen of Ayari. As so often happens, the pit stops had a major effect on the outcome. Hurrying out of the pits, Hernandez gunned the leading S7-R hard before the exit line and incurred a drive-through penalty for his eagerness.
The penalty should have given the lead to the Tarres Saleen, but Debard spun the car on the same lap, giving first place to Lebon in the PSI C6.R. Incredibly, it was only one lap before the No. 17 Vette toured into the pits with a flat front-left tire. Scarcely able to believe his good fortune, Narac now led in the Oreca Saleen. Despite the ballast and air-restrictor penalty, Narac was able to run at a comfortable pace to the flag.
Further evidence of the Saleen's undiminished pace was being displayed by Hernandez, who put in a storming drive to recover to Second by the finish, passing the Tarres Saleen and the Larbre Aston Martin in the process. Bornhauser was having his best race of the year in the Aston, using traffic to snatch Third just four laps from the finish.
And the best of the Vettes? Police and Zangarelli brought the PSI C5 home in Fifth, while Balthazard and Policand landed in Sixth to end another disappointing weekend for the marque.
|Championship Positions |
|Drivers ||Car ||Points |
|1. Narac/Ayari ||Saleen S7-R ||158 |
|2. Hernandez/Groppi ||Saleen S7-R ||116 |
|3. Balthazard/Policand ||Corvette C5-R ||83 |
|4. Police/Zangarelli ||Corvette C5-R ||78 |
|5. Cazenave/Cayrolle ||Corvette C5-R ||67 |
|6. Lebon/Bouchut ||Corvette C6.R ||63 |