Akkodis ASP put on a dominant performance at Circuit Paul Ricard, taking pole position and victory in the Fanatec GT Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup. The French team led the race from the start with Raffaele Marciello, Jules Gounon and Timur Boguslavskiy driving flawlessly to secure the win.

As the lights turned green, the French squad’s #88 Mercedes-AMG got away first with Gounon behind the wheel and Maro Engel dropping in behind in the #777 Mercedes-AMG Team AlManar he shared with Luca Stolz and Fabian Schiller. Dennis Marschall took third place in the #40 Tresor Orange 1 Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II.

However, fortune proved fickle for the #88 Akkodis Mercedes as they gradually slipped back to fifth place over the course of the race but still remained firmly in contention.

It was during the penultimate stint that Marciello staged a breathtaking comeback. With awe-inspiring skill, he maneuvered his way past rival cars, unfolding a masterclass that propelled him from fifth place to snatch back the lead.

Marciello’s heroics stole the headlines, but his teammates Gounon and Boguslavskiy were equally instrumental in their triumph. Gounon showcased his unwavering strength during the opening stints, while Boguslavskiy delivered a stellar performance in the middle phase of the race, solidifying his place as one of the rising stars of the Endurance Cup.

The victory was a perfect response from Akkodis ASP after a disappointing start to the season. The team had finished third in the previous round at Monza, but was determined to get back on top at Paul Ricard.

The victory was also a boost for Mercedes-AMG. The German manufacturer has struggled in recent races, but Akkodis ASP’s performance showed that the car is still capable of winning races. The team’s victory will give Mercedes-AMG a much-needed boost of confidence heading into the next round of the championship.

In addition to Akkodis ASP’s victory, there were several other notable results at Paul Ricard. #21 Comtoyou Racing Audi R8 LMS with Max Hofer, Nicolas Baert and Maxime Soulet won the Gold Cup having started from P26 and working their way up to P9 overall despite a strong challenge in the final minutes from Marius Zug in the #157 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.

The #99 Tresor Attempto Racing won the Silver Cup with Lorenzon Patrese bringing the car home ahead of teammates Pietro Delli Guanti and Alex Aka. The Bronze Cup win went to Arjun Maini, Sebastien Baud and Hubert Haupt driving the #79 Haupt Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT3, taking the lead in the final moments of the race after heartbreak struck the class leading #188 Garage 59 McLaren 720S GT3 EVO of Henrique Chaves, Miguel Ramos, Louis Prette who lost a tyre.in the closing stages of the race, allowing HRT to swoop in and snatch the Bronze Cup victory and extend their lead in the standings.  Car Collection Motorsport won the Pro-Am class with Alex Fontana, Ivan Jacoma and Niki Leutwiler taking the class win in their #24 Porsche 911 GT3 R (992).

The race was not short of records and milestones either. Gounon’s fifth Endurance Cup win brought him just one step away from Maxime Martin’s long-standing record of six. Marciello set a new record for the most overall podiums in the Endurance Cup, with 13 podium finishes to his name.

As the dust settled, the #777 Mercedes-AMG Team AlManar secured second place, displaying their unwavering determination throughout the race. The #98 ROWE Racing BMW completed the podium, leading the pack for a significant portion of the event before Marciello’s relentless pursuit paid off.

Further down the order, Saintéloc Junior Team celebrated a classified fourth place, only to be denied a podium spot due to a penalty for track limits. Ferrari showcased their promising pace with the new 296 GT3, with AF Corse – Francorchamps Motors claiming fifth place and Rovera/Nielsen/Shwartzman finishing seventh in their sister car.

While the winners basked in their glory, there were tales of misfortune as well. Tresor Orange1 seemed destined for victory until a cruel puncture shattered their dreams. The #40 had a 30-second lead at the halfway point when a puncture during Ricardo Fellers stint saw them drop down the field. Feller seemed to try to get back to the pit lane too quickly and left the car with too much damage for it to continue and it was pushed back into the garage, frustration from the drivers being well evident.

The race was a testament to the variety and excitement of GT racing, with a thrilling battle in each class. Comtoyou Racing continued their dominance in the Gold Cup, Winward Racing pushed hard in the Silver Cup, and Car Collection Motorsport cruised to a comfortable victory in Pro-Am.



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