LP Racing gives Maserati GT2 historic first win at Circuit Paul Ricard

LP Racing gives Maserati GT2 historic first win at Circuit Paul Ricard

LP Racing claimed an historic first win for the Maserati GT2 by winning the Fanatec GT2 European Series Powered by Pirelli season opener at Circuit Paul Ricard with Leonardo Gorini and Carlo Tamburini.

The reigning team champions started from pole position for the opening 50-minute race in France, and both Gorini and Tamburini held on in a nail-biting fight to the chequered flag despite intense pressure late on.

A chasing Reinhard Kofler took over from Martin Koch in the #812 Team MZR KTM X-BOW but could not quite usurp their Maserati rivals, settling for a close second place finish with a 10-second time penalty for an incident early on in the race.

RTR Projects rounded out the podium after coming out on top of an all-KTM X-BOW battle with Danish team RacingLab, Jan Krabec and Matej Homola collecting the final piece of class silverware on Krabec's jump to Pro-Am.

The battle for Am class spoils was an equally enthralling affair, won by Akkodis ASP’s #87 Mercedes-AMG GT2 after the chasing Gilles Vannelet - sharing with Jean-Luc Beaubelique - caught and overhauled the TFT Racing Maserati of fellow Frenchman, Alexandre Leroy.

Maserati GT2 takes historic maiden victory in France

After claiming pole position in Friday’s opening Qualifying session, Gorini picked up from where he left off with a strong start to head his Maserati team-mate Philippe Prette into the opening corners.

An early collision at the Nord Chicane eliminated the #90 Razoon - More Than Racing KTM X-BOW on lap two, resulting in a brief safety car interruption and a hectic restart. The resumption led to more drama when Prette lost out to a lunging Bremer at Virage, contact from Koch’s KTM then spinning the #2 LP Racing Maserati down the field.

That would hand the Team MZR car a time penalty late in the race, unbeknown to Koch who handed over to Kofler while Tamburini replaced Gorini in the lead #1 Maserati as pit stops cycled through.

A feisty Ronnie Bremer pumped in some strong laps and briefly rewarded RacingLab with the overall race lead, as the Dane swapped with Mathiassen. Heading into Virage moments later, Tamburini made a crucial move stick under braking on Mathiassen’s #10 KTM to grab the lead back.

Kofler followed through to second spot and began pressuring Tamburini for the race lead. Despite his attack, the Team MZR man could not find his way through as LP Racing confirmed the first overall Fanatec GT2 win for Maserati by 11 seconds from the penalised Kofler.

Krabec and Homola rounded out the overall and Pro-Am podium, but only after an exciting battle with fellow KTM rival Mathiassen which concluded in slight contact at the final corner. The latter spun but hung onto fourth place, ahead of Razoon - More Than Racing’s Thomas Andersen and Simon Birch in the #80 KTM X-BOW.

Prette’s earlier rotation set up a fierce battle for Am class honours in the second half of the contest, initially headed by Leroy’s TFT Racing Maserati. A dream debut victory for the French squad would be denied by the flying Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG of Vannelet, who found his way by to clinch the class spoils with Beaubelique.

Leroy tailed his rival home by just under a second, with the recovering Prette climbing up to third in class and ninth overall.

The second 50-minute Fanatec GT2 race gets underway this afternoon from 18:45. Watch all the action unfold live via GT World on YouTube.

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