A weekend full of contrasts for Street-Art Racing at the Circuit Paul Ricard
With a fourth place overall for Darras-Vandenbalck and a second place in the AM Cup for Seyler-Bachmann on Saturday, the Street-Art Racing team had a great first day at the Circuit Paul Ricard. Unfortunately, the second GT4 European Series race was not such a happy one for the Belgian team’s Aston Martin Vantage.
Should we consider the bottle to be half full or half empty? On the Circuit Paul Ricard, where the third round of the GT4 European Series was held, the Street-Art Racing team had the opportunity to ask itself exactly that question. On Saturday, the team led by Albert Bloem and Damien Hellebuyck delivered a very good overall performance with 4th place overall for the Aston Martin Vantage #007 driven by Julien Darras and Jamie Vandenbalck, and also the silver medal in the AM Cup for the #17 car driven by Pascal Bachmann and Clément Seyler.
On Sunday, success was not on the side of the Belgian team. While the duo Vandenbalck-Darras finished just outside the points in the Silver Cup, the Seyler-Bachmann pairing suffered a double puncture and had to settle for a disappointing 6th place in the AM Cup.
“It is indeed proof that, in motor sport, nothing can be taken for granted,” Albert Bloem and Damien Hellebuyck philosophised a few minutes after the finish. “With our top crew, we missed our qualification for the second race and we know how difficult it is to climb back through such a competitive field. The first race proved that we are drawing closer to the overall podium, but we would like to be able to do that well over the entire weekend. Despite his lack of experience, Clément, the youngest member of our team, has made good progress. He still has a lot to learn, but he is clearly moving in the right direction.”
Twelfth in his qualifying session, Julien Darras was not really satisfied on Saturday. But the 21-year-old Frenchman and his team-mate Jamie Vandenbalck gave a very good performance. “I knew after qualifying that we had the potential to do better,” he explained. “I made a good start at the beginning of the race and the strategy was perfect. By finishing in 4th place, we are getting closer to the podium! For race 2, we started from 26th place and finished 14th overall, 11th in the Silver Cup.”
For his Belgian team-mate, fourth place in the first race was a pleasant surprise. “It was indeed better than expected and I am very happy about it,” says Jamie. “Unfortunately, I lost a few places after the start of race 2 and I wanted to avoid any contact. The final result was more disappointing. In Misano, we will have to do better in qualifying.”
Seyler and Bachmann, still leaders in the AM Cup
In the #17 car entered in the AM Cup we will also take away better memories of the first day than the second. “I was not very happy with my start on Saturday,” says the Swiss gentleman Pascal Bachmann. “I was tricked at the start and could not climb back up the order as I wanted. Congratulations to Clément, who delivered a very good performance to get to the podium.”
After an opponent was penalised, the duo were ranked in second place. The next day, Clément was fighting for the lead in his class but suffered a double puncture. “The safety car had just come out following an accident in the last corner and I think I hit some debris,” explained the 19-year-old Luxembourg driver. “I admit that I had no idea how to manage the car under those conditions, but I was able to bring it back to the pits and we still finished 6th in our class, which allowed us to score a few points and to stay at the top of the championship. More than anything, I feel like I learned a great deal more this weekend and it was extremely constructive. I cannot wait for the next race in Misano.”
It is in fact in Misano, on the shores of the Adriatic Sea, on 29 and 30 June, that the GT4 European Series will start the second half of its championship.