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Rowe wins season opener at Paul Ricard

Text: Rick Kiewiet

Images SRO

The first race of the season in the GT World Challenge Europe, this time in Paul Ricard instead of Monza, was won by the #998 ROWE Racing BMW M4 of Farfus, Harper and Max Hesse. The BMW trio finished a mere 13 seconds ahead of the pole sitting #63 Iron Lynx Lamborghini of Caldarelli, Bortolotti and Cairoli. The podium was completed by the #2 GetSpeed Mercedes of Stolz, Schiller and Gounon.

The opening stage up until the first round of pitstops, was controlled by Bortolotti in the #63 Lambo. He consolidated the lead at the start and kept the #22 Schumacher CLRT Porsche and #998 BMW at bay. The first part of the race was characterized by numerous FCY's and safety cars. The first round of stops saw the #22 jump the #63, only to lose it a couple of laps later as Boccolacci had to come in to have a hose from the refueling rig removed from the car.

This handed p2 to Dan Harper in the #998 who managed to overtake the #63 when it went wide in the long turn leading up to the Mistral straight.

In the remainder of the race Harper, and later Hesse, consolidated the lead and brought the car over the finish, relatively unthreatened.

The other ROWE BMW, the #98 of Philipp Eng, Marco Wittman and Nick Yelloly, seemed on course for the final podium spot, until they too fell victim to issues with the refueling rig.

An encouraging result for Proton as they scored a top-10 finish with their brand new Ford Mustang GT3 at their debut.

The GT World Challenge continues in the weekend of 3 and 4 May, with the first Sprint Cup event at Brands Hatch.


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