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Florent Cazalot wins frenetic Historic Endurance race in Pau

Updated: May 22, 2022

  • Lotus Seven driver repeats 2016 success

  • Portuguese victories in H-1971 and H-1976 clases

  • Lotus Elite wins Performance Index

Historic Endurance drivers and teams were treated to a beautiful spring day in the Atlantic Pyrenees today. It was in this pleasant scenario that the first of the two races on the Pau Classic Grand Prix programme took place.

The packed Circuit de Pau-Ville grandstands witnessed an eventful race in all five classes, sometimes featuring battles between cars in different classes, with local Florent Cazalot (Lotus Seven) crossing the line first, followed by Portugal's Vasco Nina (Porsche 911 2.8 RS) and Joaquim Soares (Lotus Elan).

With the 37-car field formed behind the Leading-Car, the Lotus Seven of Florent Cazalot got off to a blazing start from the first position on the grid and comfortably came to the front under braking for the La Gare corner. Winner on this same race in 2016, Florent Cazalot put in a lot of effort in the opening laps, setting the fastest lap of the race and building a fifteen-second lead over the chasing pack, which was led by Savinien Legeleux after half a dozen laps. The latter halved his opponent's advantage, but the effort made on track vanished in the mandatory round of pit-stops, where he lost too much time.

While Florent Cazalot was on his way to a deserved win in the GTP & SC class, the youngest of the Legeleux family controlled the second place position. Without getting into excesses, in a circuit that does not forgive any delay, Portuguese pair João Mira Gomes and Nuno Afoito completed the class podium with a flawless race.

Vasco Nina wins in H-1976 and Joaquim Soares in H-1971

After an early battle with the Ford Escort RS 1600, Vasco Nina (Porsche 911 2.8 RS) was the second to cross the finish line and, with that, triumphed in the H-1976 category. The Aurora Motorsport driver had his 45 minutes race interrupted near the end to comply with a "Drive Through", for not having fully complied with the pit-stop handicap, but the fact of having carried out a race of high level and consistency, allowed him to keep the position and to win in the H-1976 class. Former FIA WEC driver Paul Daniels (Porsche 911 RSR) finished second.

Joaquim Soares, a newcomer to the streets of Pau, showed a very fast pace throughout the race, which allowed him to be the second best Portuguese driver and winner of the H-1971 class. The Portuguese veteran benefited from the bad luck that hit the Ford Escort RS 1600 of Miguel Ferreira/Francisco Carvalho in the last lap. The Portuguese duo was clearly the fastest in its class, with an impressive pace at the end of the race, even approaching the Lotus Seven of Florent Cazalot, but a broken hub relegated them to the second place of the H-1971 class at the end of the race.

Taking advantage of his good knowledge of the circuit, still regarding the H-1971, Franck Biraben (Porsche 911 R) finished in the third place, benefiting from the problems felt in the first laps by the duo Domingos Sousa Coutinho/Rui Maia (BMW 2800 CS), who, due to an extra pit stop, ended up in the sixth place in the class.

The smallest ones also shone

Among the H-1965 class, Frenchman Damien Kohler (Lotus Elan), who at the start of the race had to fend off the attacks of the BMW 2800 CS, eventually got the better of Japan's Katsu Kobota, who had an unfortunate pit-stop where mechanics had to repair the passenger door, and of Sweden's Per-Ake Forsvall. However, Damien Kohler's victory was only obtained thanks to an exemplary performance on track that allowed him to emerge unscathed from a 30-second penalty for allegedly not respecting the pit-stop time limit.

Taking advantage of the characteristics of this track, the strong pace imposed by the Austin Mini Cooper S of David Barrere/Philippe Quiriere was once again a motive of contemplation for the spectators. The French pair competed against much more powerful cars, winning the GDS class - the one that includes all cars equipped with engines up to 1300cc and all touring cars up to 2000cc. The well-prepared MG B Roadster of Paul Rayment/James Wheeler took the chequered flag in second place, while Simon Hutson/Stephen Monk (Porsche 911 Type 901) celebrated a third place finish after edging Michel Mora (Porsche 911 SWB) by a mere two seconds.

British Lotus Elite wins Performance Index

The victory in the Performance Index, which values the best performance according to age, engine capacity and type of car, belonged to Robin Ellis' Lotus Elite. The British driver, who finished in fifth position in the GDS class, will take one watch from the prestigious Swiss watchmaker Cuervo y Sobriños. Also in Lotus Elite, Robert Ingram and Iain Rowley, who travelled from Australia to take part in this race organised by Race Ready, were the runners-up, with the third place being the Austin Mini Cooper S of David Barrere/Philippe Quiriere.

Tomorrow the competition that embodies on and off track the spirit of the three 3Cs - "No Crashing, No Cheating, No Complaning" - returns to the streets of Pau for the second 45-minute race.


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