Simsport Racing GT4 Season 4 – Round 5: Paul Ricard

The penultimate round of the Simsport Racing GT4 Season 4 Championship saw our field of drivers take on a wet and tricky Circuit Paul Ricard with such conditions being a great leveller and usually providing plenty of close, action-packed drama as cars battle to keep it on track whilst others take the conditions in their stride.

The reverse grid saw Gavin Uttley’s BMW M4 lead the way from the Porsche of Tobin Leigh. Championship Leader Luka Berk would start in 14th just ahead of Aiden Browe whilst fellow Championship protagonists in Stephen Haley and Aaron Walker would be amongst the ones to watch starting from 10th and 12th respectively.

With the rain pouring down and the lights turning green, the race got underway as all eyes looked towards Turn 1 and as expected, there was plenty of action and drama to feast your eyes upon as the spray reigned supreme. Uttley made a great start and got to Turn 1 ahead of Leigh who was unfortunately tagged by Reegan Mitchell which left both cars facing the wrong way as the large field of competitors streamed past just narrowly avoiding the stranded pair. There was also unwanted drama for Misano victor Aiden Browe who found himself careering into the barrier and out of contention.

With Jannik Moller making his way to the front in the early stages of the race, a mistake at turn 10 opened the door for Adam Isailovich to move past into the lead and also allowed John Munro to move up to second ahead of the Chevrolet. Berk meanwhile, had already made his way up to sixth with none of his nearest rivals anywhere near him with Haley and Browe both involved in early race drama.

As the cars streamed down the huge straight, the power difference between cars was easily demonstrated by the ease in which the battling duo of Walker and Al Buncombe streamed past the Ginetta’s of Martin-Pilkington and Paspont and the Porsche of Vidago as the duo made up three places in super-quick succession and into the Top 10.

Back at the front, Moller made up for his earlier mistake by retaking the lead with a clean move past Isailovic, whilst further down the field Myles Dixon shown some great defensive abilities to hold off the charge of 2009 F1 World Champion Jenson Button who was doing a great job to move through the pack having began the race at the back of the field having missed the previous round.

With half an hour left on the clock and the rain still pouring down, Aiden Browe’s fightback had saw him make a good move on Paspont for 17th only then to be caught by the battling Ginetta as he tried to regain the place, leaving Browe sliding off the track but doing a good job to keep his Aston Martin under control, keep it facing in the right direction and to only lose a further couple of places.

Jenson Button’s surge through the field continued as he breezed past Will Dendy on the straight to move within sight of the Top 10. At the front meanwhile, Moller still led from Isailovic and Munro, whilst Luka Berk had gradually worked his way into fourth and within a second of third place as he eyed yet another Podium finish in what has already been an extraordinary season for the Porsche driver.

With less than ten minutes remaining and Moller’s lead at the front now standing at an impressive 12 seconds, an exciting battle for second place developed between Munro and Isailovic, only for a mistake by Isailovic to curtail an intriguing fight between the pair and leaving Munro with an easy overtake and some clear air to try and put some space between himself and his rival.

As the clock ticked down and the chequered flag was waved, Jannik Moller crossed the finish line to complete an excellent, dominant victory, making the most of the tricky conditions to surge his way to the win by a huge 15 seconds. Munro won the battle for second ahead of Isailovic, while Championship leader Berk came home in fourth just ahead of Championship rival Aaron Walker as fellow rival Stephen Haley finished 9th. Reigning Championship Sipavicius had his best finish of the season in sixth whilst Jenson Button did indeed make it into the top ten as Aiden Browe’s race to forget saw him finish in a creditable 16th place, just shy of Pole for Snetterton.

On Pole for the season finale at Snetterton will be Will Dendy who will share the front row with Stijn Paspont. With Kieran Vidago and Ross McGregor just behind, there is certainly plenty of promise for an exciting start to the race at the British circuit, while Jenson Button will fancy his chances of another Podium position.

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With Snetterton being a new track on ACC and most drivers having limited practice, such variables have all the hall marks of another exciting race and a perfect season finale to bookend what has been another fantastic Simsport Racing GT4 Season. And of course, a Champion will be crowned.

We cannot wait!

Driver and Team Standings After Round 5:

Image courtesy of Angus Martin

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