World of Sport: Bahrain GT Festival
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