Saturday at Paul Ricard brought Team Lazarus the first win of the season, with valuable championship points being collected along the way and important experience gathered with the Bentley Continental GT3.
Albeit eventually satisfying, the first qualifying session was a tale of two sides for Team Lazarus and Jordan Pepper. Despite comfortably leading the pack in the first half of the 30-minute session, the former Bentley works driver was held up by traffic and therefore struggled to improve his time in the second half. Starting from P3 on the grid, Pepper quickly made a move for the second spot, consolidating the position before the first Safety Car of the day was deployed. As racing went back to green, the South African driver made the very best of his extensive Bentley experience with a masterful overtake for the lead. As he was building a gap to the rest of the pack, a second Safety Car was called for, neutralising the race once again.
The second restart also marked the driver change, with newcomer Ivan Peklin taking the wheel. The Ukrainian young gun followed suit on his impressive show during testing and practice, keeping the lead and eventually building up a more than comfortable 10-second margin to the chequered flag.
Jordan Pepper: “At the start I tried to make use of the power to get the jump, there was a fair battle between Myself, Nico [Bastian] and Loris [Spinelli]. Unfortunately, there seemed to be a big crash, which is always a shame to see, but when we got going again, I managed to get past Nico just in time before the second Safety Car. Needless tosay, I’m super stoked for the team!”
Ivan Peklin: “Jumping in the car after Jordan’s amazing job was a matter of concentration in my case. I tried to build the gap progressively and then switched to full focus before the end. It’s truly an amazing feeling.”