GT4 Europe

Lebbon and Rattican complete Silver Cup sweep in entertaining second outing at Spa

GT4 European Series
29 Jun. 2024 • 19:44

Tom Lebbon and Josh Rattican completed a Silver Cup sweep at Spa-Francorchamps by winning the second GT4 European Series Powered by RAFA Racing Club contest for Elite Motorsport, while CHAZEL Technologie Course secured Pro-Am honours with its BMW and Schumacher CLRT banked a fifth Am Cup win from six races.


Victorious in Friday night's opening race, the #78 McLaren started Race 2 from pole with Lebbon at the wheel. But while the car would ultimately take the chequered flag first, it spent relatively little time in the lead.


Indeed, the #3 Team Speedcar Audi was ahead by the time the field left La Source and began the descent towards Eau Rouge thanks to a perfect getaway from Robert Consani. The fast-starting #9 Matmut Evolution Toyota of Etienne Cheli also passed the #78 McLaren during the opening tour, demoting Lebbon to third by the time the race was neutralised to recover a stricken Aston Martin


A Safety Car period followed, after which the advantage swung away from Consani. Cheli was the first to surge past the Audi into Les Combes, while Lebbon quickly followed the Toyota through and up into second spot. Consani subsequently dropped behind Gabriele Piana (#12 Borusan Otomotiv BMW) and Jamie Day (#82 Racing Spirit of Léman Aston Martin), though the former had cut the final chicane to complete his move on the latter.


By this point the Pit Window was fast approaching, but it was delayed when the #16 NM Racing Mercedes-AMG found itself beached in gravel, requiring another neutralisation that became a Safety Car. Shortly after this withdrew, the lead swapped for a third time as Lebbon got alongside the Toyota and made a superb pass as the cars exited Pif-Paf.


The McLaren driver ran longer than Cheli, stopping shortly before the 40-minute mark to hand over to Rattican. It appeared that the Elite Motorsport machine had retained its advantage, but the arrival of another Full-Course Yellow and Safety Car fell perfectly for the #81 RAFA Racing McLaren, which had been running in the lower half of the top 20 with Cameron Lawrence at the wheel.


When the Safety Car picked up the pack, Jem Hepworth was the new race leader aboard the #81 machine. Once again, the Elite Motorsport crew would need to work for their win. The action resumed with a little under 10 minutes on the clock, and Rattican was instantly on the attack. Hepworth covered the inside line into Brussels, but just a few moments later Rattican went up the inside and completed a pass into Pouhon.


This time the #78 McLaren would not surrender its lead, taking the chequered flag a little over two seconds ahead of Berkay Besler in the #12 BMW. However, the Borusan Otomotiv entry would not be classified P2, a five-second penalty having already been applied for Piana's earlier pass on Day. This meant that Benjamin Lessennes clinched runner-up in the #17 L'Espace Bienvenue BMW he shares with Ricardo van der Ende, while the #12 car completed the podium.


The #81 McLaren held on to take fourth, marking the best result of the season so far for the RAFA Racing squad's pair. Academy Motorsport rounded out the Silver Cup top five after a late charge from Erik Evans at the wheel of the #61 Ford he shares with Marco Signoretti.


The Pro-Am result was changed by a number of penalties for exceeding track limits. The #30 W&S Motorsport Porsche took the chequered flag first having led the bulk of the race but was relegated to fifth in the final classification. The next two cars across the line – the #46 JSB Competition Porsche and the #10 CMR Ginetta – were also hit with penalties.


Indeed, the class-winning #317 Chazel Technologie Course BMW took the finish in fourth spot. This marked a first win of the season for Antoni De Barn and Grégory Guilvert, building on the third place finish they scored last time out at Misano. Other BMWs also made it a class podium sweep for the German brand, with the #37 W&D Racing entry of Davide and Paolo Meloni ahead of the #98 Lestrup Racing crew of Victor Bouveng and Joakim Walde.


The Am victory never looked in doubt, with the #55 Schumacher CLRT Alpine dominating proceedings from start to finish. Laurent Hurgon spent the first stint a considerable distance clear of his closest rival, running on the fringes of the overall top 10. He handed over to Pascal Huteau, who continued to perform strongly en route to a fifth class win from six races. With their closest rivals out on lap one, the Schumacher CLRT crew now enjoy a sizeable advantage at the top of the Am standings. Jean-Mathieu Leandri and Jean-Paul Dominici were second in the Chazel Alpine, with Philippe Thalamy and Julien Ripert completing the podium in their Team Speedcar Audi.


Saturday's race marked the mid-way point of the 2024 GT4 European Series Powered by RAFA Racing Club season and ran just a few hours before the centenary CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa got underway. The series will resume in three weeks' time when Hockenheim plays host to another double-header meeting on 19–21 July.


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