Saintéloc Junior Team takes first 24H SERIES win at Spa; moves into title contention 

News | May 12, 2023

After taking its first 24H SERIES podium in Tuscany, the Saintéloc Junior Team took its first series win at the Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, a result that moves the French team into GT European Trophy title contention. 


Words – James Gent

Images – Nico Mombaerts

One round after securing its first 24H SERIES podium, the Saintéloc Junior Team took its first series win at this past weekend’s Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS.


Having lapped regularly in podium contention throughout the event, the newly reliveried #26 Audi R8 LMS GT3 EVO II was running in a comfortable 2nd place overall heading into the final two hours when the penultimate Code 60 was called (the E2P Racing Porsche had been pitched into the gravel at Les Combes). The then-leading Herberth Motorsport Porsche was pitted twice to brim the tanks under purples only to be caught in the refueling area when the race went green once again, an instance that helped race-long frontrunner Saintéloc work its way into the lead.


The win marks the second time in two 24H SERIES events that a brand-new winner has been crowned, and also marks the first time since IMSA Performance Matmut won the 2010 24H DUBAI that a French team has taken an outright GT win at a 24H SERIES event. 

Erwan Bastard posting the fastest lap during the opening 15-minute Q1 session – a 2m 25.609s, the fourth fastest GT3 time – helped the Saintéloc Junior Team secure a front row starting spot just eight-tenths adrift of polesitter Haas RT. Though Bastard initially slipped behind Scherer Sport PHX on the opening lap, and despite briefly dropping out the top 20 (the #26 Audi R8 was one of the first GT3 frontrunners to make its second stop shortly before a Code 60 was called), consistent stints in the wet by Bastard, Evrard and Antoine Doquin meant Saintéloc was comfortably back into the top two by the fourth hour, a position the Audi held going into the overnight intervention


Ironically, Evrard also fell back to 3rd in the opening stages of ‘part two,’ but swift pit work and consistent running meant the #26 Audi was once again back up to 2nd place heading into the closing stages when the penultimate Code 60 was called. Herberth’s dual pit stop under the purple flags effectively turned a 54-second advantage into a two-minute deficit. Though Ralf Bohn in the #91 Porsche was slowly catching Saintéloc’s Bastard, a right-rear puncture in the closing three minutes effectively ended Herberth’s shot at victory, securing the #26 Audi’s win in the process


As well as propelling the Sainteloc Junior Team to the top of the GT3 Teams’ standings, and second in the overall GT European Trophy standings behind The Heart of Racing by SPS, the win also puts to bed memories of a poor race at last year’s Hankook 12H SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, when the #26 Audi suffered two separate collisions at La Source – one with the BoDa by Bas Koeten Racing Bentley Continental GT3 – en-route to a underwhelming 7th place. 

“I'm really happy for the team,” Doquin explained. “Everyone has done an amazing job to achieve this success. It's also good preparation for the July race here in Spa. We riders did a good job of avoiding contact while keeping a great pace. Let's continue on this momentum. It's only my second time in a GT3, so I'm learning all the time. We have a lot of useful information for the next race.”


“It's a great feeling, in the wake of Mugello where we finished 2nd,” Bastard continues. “On Saturday we were a bit unlucky with the Code 60s but on Sunday we had a bit more success. It's a great feeling to be on the top step of the podium. We have all done a very good job. Antoine was particularly quick in what is simply his second race in GT3. I'm really happy and proud. We learned a lot about the settings and how to manage the race.”


Fresh from its Spa win, the Saintéloc Junior Team has shown an interest in continuing its championship campaign at the Hankook 12H MONZA on 10-11 June.

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