Valentin Hasse-Clot and Theo Nouet moved closer to winning the GT4 European Series Silver Cup with a commanding victory in the first race at Spa-Francorchamps.
Rain in the Belgian Ardennes meant that the race started under safety car conditions, but when the field was let loose the #27 AGS Events Aston Martin immediately pulled away from the rest of the field, with Xavier Lloveras in the #15 NM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG following him in second place and Willem Meijer in the #30 Selleslagh Racing Team Mercedes-AMG taking third. Stéphane Lémeret, who had qualified in second place suffered a problem on the opening lap and was still catching up on the field as the safety car pulled in.
In the treacherous conditions a mistake was easy to make and even race leader Nouet had a brief moment on the first lap after the safety car had pulled in. Behind him Meijer quickly overtook Lloveras, with Jörg Viebahn moving in behind teammate Jan Kasperlik to make it a one-two for the Allied Racing Porsches in the Pro-Am class. The Am Cup leading #89 AGS Events Aston Martin was in sixth place overall.
The Allied Racing drivers managed to overtake the NM Racing Team Mercedes and soon Lloveras had the Chevrolet Camaro of Thijmen Nabuurs closing in on him, after the Dutchman cleared the Aston Martin of Nicolas Gomar.
By the time the pit window opened Nouet was almost three seconds ahead of Meijer and some 10 seconds ahead of the Pro-Am leading Allied Racing Porsche of Kasperlik. Viebahn was the first one into the pits, followed by teammate Kasperlik one lap later. Race leader Nouet came in to hand over to Valentin Hasse-Clot at the end of lap 10.
After the pit window had closed Valentin Hasse-Clot managed to pull away from the competition, as further down the field small groups began to fight for overall positions. Antoine Potty overtook the #17 V8 Racing Camaro to take second in class and soon after Jop Rappange lost another position to teammate Duncan Huisman.
At the front of the Pro-Am class, Møller-Madsen tried to fight with young teammate Bastian Buus. The young Dane, however, wasn’t going to hand over the position and had other things in mind. Buus quickly caught the Selleslagh Mercedes-AMG of Esteban Muth and managed to pass it to take second overall.
In the final laps Møller-Madsen battled hard with Muth to take third on the road, but after 20 laps it was the Belgian driver who came across the line in third place, behind Buus and Hasse-Clot.
The fourth win of the season for Nouet and Hasse-Clot means they move closer to winning the Silver Cup title and now have a 34 point lead. Muth and Meijer finished second in the Silver Cup, with V8 Racing’s Duncan Huisman and Jorge Cabezas taking the final podium position.
Buus and Kasperlik secured their seventh Pro-Am victory of the season and their sixth consecutive class win. Allied Racing teammates Møller-Madsen and Viebahn, who finished second in class, are now 45 points behind. Antoine Potty and Wilfried Cazalbon completed the Pro-Am podium with the #66 CMR Toyota.
In the Am Cup AGS drivers Nicolas Gomar and Gilles Vannelet increased their championship lead by beating SRT’s Bob Herber to take their fourth win of the season. Ibrahim Okyay and Fatih Ayhan claimed a podium finish for Borusan Otomotiv Motorsport.
Valentin Hasse-Clot, #27 AGS Events Aston Martin: “I’m so proud of Theo today. He’s only 18 years old, it’s our first year together and he evolved so quickly. He did an amazing job this morning with pole and the start in tricky conditions. I just had to finish the job, so full credits to him and the team for giving us a great car again.”
Theo Nouet, #27 AGS Events Aston Martin: “The start was a bit easier with the safety car conditions. I was first and [fortunately] it wasn’t too difficult with the rain. [Valentin] just finished the job. It was amazing.”
Jan Kasperlik, #22 Allied Racing Porsche: “We started on a difficult P6. We changed the setup completely; we could easily keep the pace at the beginning. It was difficult to keep up with the Aston, but compared to the other cars we were the quickest. We finished P2 overall, which is what I think the result that fits with our level at the moment.”
Bastian Buus, #22 Allied Racing Porsche: “This was my first proper stint in the rain. It was a new experience for me, so I had to learn a bit how to drive in the rain. I think the pace came in the end, when I got a gap to the cars behind. I’m happy with the result, I think it could not be better right now.”
RACE 1 RESULTS