World of Sport: Bahrain GT Fes­ti­val

Autosport (UK) - - CONTENTS -

BAHRAIN GT FES­TI­VAL BAHRAIN (BRN) NOVEM­BER 30-DE­CEM­BER 1 Ay­han­can Gu­ven and Salih Yoluc led Turkey to vic­tory in the first-ever FIA GT Na­tions Cup at the Bahrain In­ter­na­tional Cir­cuit.

The Mercedes-amg GT3 pair started the race from pole after a win and a sec­ond in the two qual­i­fy­ing races. But this was not to be a straight­for­ward tri­umph since they had to fight off Team UK and Team Rus­sia.

Yoluc main­tained his lead at the start as a string of first-lap in­ci­dents re­quired a safety car. One of the high-pro­file ca­su­al­ties of the melee was Mike den Tandt in the Wrt-run Team Bel­gium Audi R8 LMS, which he had shared to vic­tory with Charles Weerts in the first qual­i­fy­ing race. He crashed out after con­tact with the Rus­sian and Mex­i­can en­tries, with Aus­tralia, Be­larus, Ger­many and Swe­den out too.

Yoluc then lost his lead to the Fer­rari

488 GT3 of Team UK’S Chris Frog­gatt, and Ri­nat Sa­likhov in the Rus­sian Fer­rari also surged past. The pit­stops ini­tially failed to change the or­der as Chris Bun­combe – now in the UK Fer­rari – held on to the lead, but once Gu­ven took over from

Yoluc he started to reel in the lead­ers.

Gu­ven, the French Porsche Car­rera

Cup cham­pion, even­tu­ally passed Bun­combe for the lead with 12 min­utes re­main­ing, and went on to win by 3.311 sec­onds. Dan­ish pair Nick­las Nielsen and Johnny Laursen com­pleted the podium in their Fer­rari after start­ing 15th, while Sa­likhov/de­nis Bu­la­tov were fourth from China’s Ye Hong Li and Li Chao (Porsche) and Ital­ian Fer­rari pair Mat­teo Cres­soni and Piergiuseppe Per­azz­ini.

In the GT4 In­ter­na­tional Cup, CMR pair Pierre Sanci­nena and Pierre-alexan­dre Jean drove a thrilling race from the back of the grid to win the fea­ture race in their Alpine A110 GT4. The team strug­gled in qual­i­fy­ing, which con­signed the Alpine to 18th at the start. But Sanci­nena – a former French F4 ri­val of Pierre Gasly – and Jean staged an epic come­back to win by 5.677s over the pole­sit­ting Phoenix Rac­ing Audi R8 LMS GT4 of Ni­co­laj Moller-mad­sen and Mi­lan Don­tje.

Don­tje led the open­ing stint, but the A110’s ad­van­tage was telling as Jean clawed back place after place. Sadly the bat­tle for the lead was re­solved in the pit­stops as the Alpine emerged ahead with Sanci­nena at the wheel. The 3Y Tech­nol­ogy BMW M4 GT4 of Enzo Guib­bert and Gilles Van­nelet was third.

Po­tent his­toric-rac­ing fa­ther-and-son duo Oliver and Gra­hame Bryant com­pleted a per­fect week­end in the Bahrain Clas­sic Chal­lenge, driv­ing their 1964 Shelby Co­bra to the top of the timesheets in prac­tice, as well as to pole po­si­tion and both race wins.

They were dom­i­nant in race two and won by 55.128s, adding to their 42.023s cush­ion in the qual­i­fy­ing race win. In both en­coun­ters they won over Guillermo Fierro in his 1960 Maserati T61 ‘Bird­cage’.

Shelby Co­bra Day­tona duo Ed­win Stucky and Lu­dovic Chol­ley came home third ahead of Peter Muelder and Chris­tian Traber in a 1965 Biz­zarrini 5300 GT and Malte Muller-wrede’s Mar­cos 1800 GT.

CMR bagged GT4 hon­ours with its Alpine A110

Oliver and Gra­hame Bryant (lead­ing) blitzed Clas­sic

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