Loeb And Parente Secure Navarra Championship Race Win

by Peter Allen
Sebastien Loeb Racing - Photo Credit: V-IMAGES.com/Fabre

Sebastien Loeb and Alvaro Parente secured their first championship race victory in the FIA GT Series as they led from start to finish in Navarra to complete a double win at the Spanish track.

Loeb was chased by fast-starting team-mate Andreas Zuber during the opening stint, but the pressure from the #10 vanished when it picked up a puncture just before Parente and Mike Parisy took over the driving duties in their respective McLarens. Parente went on to take the chequered flag with a 21 second advantage over Parisy.

The podium was completed by the #13 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT car of Frank Stippler and Edward Sandstrom, who closed the gap at the top of the Pro Cup standings to the sister crew of Stephane Ortelli and Laurens Vanthoor to just five points.

Ortelli was punted off on the opening lap by the BMW of Allam Khodair but after Vanthoor had managed to recover to challenge Sandstrom, a brake problem then prompted a long pit stop and a 15th place finish, seven laps down.

Andreas Simonsen and Sergey Afanasiev extended their advantage at the head of the Pro-Am standings with a category win in fourth overall in their Mercedes. The remaining WRT Audi of Niki Mayr-Melnhof and Oliver Jarvis (standing in for ADAC GT Masters-tied Rene Rast for the weekend) took fifth.

GT Academy graduates Steve Doherty and Wolfgang Reip enjoyed a highly impressive run to sixth overall and second in Pro-Am. Doherty was as high as third early on but an on-track battle with the sister RJN Nissan of Alex Buncombe led to him missing the pit entry and the team having to service both cars on the following lap, losing them time.

Alon Day and Stef Dusseldorp finished seventh in their Mercedes despite a drive-through penalty after the former made contact with Khodair. The other Brazilian BMW of Sergio Jimenez and Atila Abreu was eighth ahead of Cesar Campanico and Michael Ammermuller‘s Audi and Gerhard Tweraser and Hari Proczyk‘s Lamborghini.

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