Nova Race's GT3 Light Audi and GT4 Ginettas made a subscription to Paul Ricard podium
It turned out Nova Race's entries made up 1/4 of the sadly thin Italian GT starting grid in the lone meeting staged abroad, at Paul Ricard. None the less, the absentees were wrong because the journey to France proved remarkable for the Corregio, Italy-based team, despite the clashing schedule with Monza Michelin Le Mans Cup round, which the team was also committed to. Ultimately, Nova Race drivers were four-time winners.
The team was especially keen about the debut of the Audi R8 LMS Ultra driven by Luca Magnoni and Enrico Garbelli in the GT3 Light class. They brought home the class trophy on Saturday, and on top of that they even managed to fight for P7 outright against the Lamborghini Huracan of the lone French crew, before settling for P9 overall. Yesterday on a damp track they actually wound up in seventh place despite a long pit-stop. Now teams and drivers can not wait to have their Audi facing real class competition at Misano Adriatico in the next round.
If GT3 Light was new territory for Nova Race, GT4 was again home ground for their two GT4 Ginettas. In France Magnoni and Garbelli were facing a twin challenge: one from team mates Henri Kauppi, Alessandro Marchetti and the one represented by the double engagement in GT3 Light and in GT4, swapping seats at halfway. It may sound complicated: however, the outcome says another story. On Sunday they always led in the wet, whilst the family feud was way more exciting on Saturday afternoon.
At the start the orange Ginetta of Kauppi was ahead of rival Garbelli for three and a half laps before a spin let the black rival G55 grab the top spot. However, Garbelli and Magnoni, due to their previous Imola wins, had to face ten seconds of handicap-time more than the friends-rivals and Marchetti took over from the Finn back in the race ahead of Magnoni. And that's how the two drivers ended under the checkered flag, with what seemed the first 2018 victory for the Ginetta N. 207. But there was disappointment lurking for Marchetti and Kauppi: the stewards slapped on them a penalty of 5 "724 for a rushed driver-change. In the classification compiled at the end of the race the edge of Marchetti and Kauppi was not enough: for a mere two hundredths of a second, Magnoni and Garbelli stepped on the highest step of the podium. After the race, however, the Nova Race staff informed the stewards of a misalignment in the timekeepers' statement about Ginetta N. 207 driver-change: Marchetti and Kauppi could thus soon see their first well-deserved victory of the season returned to them.