The #22 GPX Racing Porsche 911 GT3-R piloted by Matt Campbell, Earl Bamber and Mathieu Jaminet won the Circuit Paul Ricard 1000km, the third round of the 2021 GT World Challenge Europe Powered By AWS and the second race of the Endurance Cup season. Australian Matt Campbell took the chequered flag just under six seconds ahead of Dries Vanthoor in the #32 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 he shared with Kelvin van der Linde and Charles Weerts after the times had been adjusted for a late penalty for the #71 Iron Lynx Ferrari.
Completing the overall podium positions was the #63 Orange 1 FFF Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 driven by the all-Italian trio of Mirko Bortolotti, Marco Mapelli and Andrea Caldarelli.
The class victory in the Silver Cup category went to the #87 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG Simon Gachet, Konstantin Tereschenko and Thomas Drouet with the #14 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini second in class.
Honours in the Pro-Am Cup class were taken by the #93 SKY-Tempesta Racing Ferrari F488 GT3 piloted by Chris Froggatt, Jonathan Hui and Eddie Cheever.
The #63 Orange 1 FFF Racing Lamborghini, piloted by the Mapelli, Bortolotti and Caldarelli looked to be on ourse for victory in the Pro class with team principal Caldarelli having built an advantage of over 13 seconds as the six-hour contest approached the halfway mark.
A late safety car period caused by the #2 GetSpeed Mercedes-AMG stopping on-track resulted in Matt Campbell taking the final stint in the #22 Porsche, the Australian pilot quickly passing the #32 Audi for second after which he set about closing the gap to Caldarelli.
Both leading cars pitted together, Caldarelli handing over to Mapelli who maintained a slight advantage to Campbell. However Campbell finally manage to make his pass stick on the Caldarelli to take the lead and bring the #22 Porsche home for the victory that eluded the Italian team in 2020.
The #71 Iron Lynx Ferrari driven by Antonio Fuoco, Callum Ilott and Davide Rigon finished second on the road but was penalised for a pit stop infringement. The penalty promoted the #32 Audi into second overall with the #63 Lamborghini taking the final podium position.
Matt Campbell was delighted with the win.
“Yeah, wow! Going into the race we certainly didn’t expect that!” said Campbell. “We had a troubled lead up but the boys did a fantastic job and the GPX crew were flawless during the pit stops. It wasn’t easy – we had a bit of contact in the last stint – but we got it done. I’m so thrilled for GPX. We didn’t have the best event at Monza so to fight like this… yeah, it’s fantastic.”
Victory in the Silver Cup went to the #87 AKKA ASP Mercedes who took the lead at the one-third mark from the #159 garage 59 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3.
In the overall drivers standings, Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts head the table on 53.5 points, 11 points ahead of Raffaele Marciello who finished sixth in the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG alongside teammates Dani Juncadella and Jules Gounon. The victorious GPX crew moved into third place on 33 points.
In the Endurance Cup, Campbell, Jaminet and Bamber lead the drivers standings, two points ahead of the #54 Dinamic Motorsport trio of Matteo Cairoli, Klaus Bachler and Christian Engelhart who finished seventh at Paul Ricard.
The GT World Challenge grid next assembles at Zandvoort for Round Four and two Sprint Cup races.