Picture © Jakob Ebrey Photography
LMC - 23/09/2017 - Jeff CARTER
Starting from pole position Glorieux pulled ahead of the rest of the field to build up a big lead on his home circuit. The Belgian driver had to keep one eye on the rear view mirrors as Alex Kapadia was moving swiftly up through the field in the no14 RLR M Sport Ligier from 15th on the grid.
The gap had closed to less than 6 seconds when Glorieux pitted to hand the Norma M30 over to Alex Toril at the end of the first hour. Kapadia took the lead for a few laps before handing over to Ross Warburton.
Toril was delayed during his pitstop because the team had to push the car back to get around a stationary car in the pits. This meant the Spanish driver had to rejoin behind Warburton but Toril soon caught and passed the bronze driver to retake the lead.
By the time the chequered flag was shown Toril was over 60 seconds ahead of the rest of the field and cruising to the 2017 Michelin Le Mans Cup title.
Belgian fans celebrated a new local European racing champion as Jean Glorieux joined his Spanish teammate on the top step of the podium at Spa-Francorchamps. There was further glory for the home country as the Motorsport98 team took their first podium finish in the series. Belgian Eric de Doncker and Britain’s Andy Meyrick stood on the third step of the podium after finishing behind the no79 Nielsen Racing Ligier of Colin Noble and Tony Wells.
Second Win For Lee Mowle Keeps Title Hopes Alive
The no7 Lee Mowle Mercedes AMG GT3 in the hands of team owner Lee Mowle and Austrian Dominik Baumann blitzed the opposition in the GT3 class to take the team’s second win of the season and close the gap in the championship to just nine points after the no46 Ebimotors Lamborghini of Emanuele Busnelli and Fabio Babini could only finish in third.
At the start the no46 Lamborghini, which had started on pole, was under pressure from the no7 Mercedes as Lee Mowle was probing to find a way past Busnelli’s Lamborghini. It took six laps for Mowle to make his move but when he did he forced his way past into the lead at Les Combes. The Lamborghini looked to be having a problem and Busnelli reported that the Huracan was suffering from severe oversteer.
Busnelli kept going but soon found himself in third place when Cedric Mezard overtook the black and gold Lamborghini. However Busnelli kept in touch with Mezard’s Lamborghini and with 4 minutes of the race run, the Italian took advantage to regain the lead as Mezard was passed by three LMP3 cars, unsighting the French driver.
Lee Mowle came into the pits to hand over to Dominik Baumann, the Austrian rejoining with a healthy lead. The no46 Lamborghini was now in the hands of Fabio Babini, the Italian coming under pressure from the no20 Gulf Racing UK Porsche now driven by Ben Barker. For nearly 15 minutes Babini and Barker raced nose to tail, with Barker trying every move in his extensive repertoire to try and find a way around the experienced Babini.
It wasn’t until the final five minutes of the race that Barker was able to find a way past when Babini ran wide at the Bruxelles corner, allowing the Porsche to get alongside and sweep into second place at Pouhon.
Dominik Baumann took the chequered flag in the no7 Mercedes to secure the win on his Michelin Le Mans Cup debut for himself, Lee Mowle and the team. Ben Barker crossed the line 47 seconds later, with championship leader Fabio Babini in third place 1.9 seconds further behind.
While the LMP3 titles are decided there is all to play for in GT3 at the season finale in Portugal on Sunday 22 October.
CLICK HERE for all the result from Round 5 at Spa-Francorchamps
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