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Matt Campbell wins in France

Dan McCarthy

Australian Matt Campbell along with his co-drivers Mathieu Jaminet and Earl Bamber, won the second round of the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup at Circuit Paul Ricard in France.

The trio qualified in sixth position, but over the 1000km race distance worked their way forwards to take an impressive race victory.

The race went down to the wire as the GPX Racing Porsche trio snatched the victory in the final hour, giving the brand its first GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup win at the French venue.

Starting from the third row, Bamber made progress during the first two stints of the race, handing the car over to Frenchman Jaminet in fifth spot.

Jaminet then overtook several cars to become a contender for victory, as the race passed half distance. However, the #63 Lamborghini held a substantial lead.

All this soon changed, with just over two hours to go a safety car was called onto circuit as the #2 Mercedes stopped on track.

When Campbell jumped behind the wheel several minutes later, he sat in third position.

He made light work of Sheldon van der Linde, before setting off in pursuit of the long-time race leading Lamborghini.

As the race approached the closing hour, Campbell had closed the gap to less than two seconds.

Night had fallen, but with just 41 minutes the on-track action was as hot as over. Campbell made a move down the outside of the Mistral Straight to take the lead, however a mistake at Beausset two turns later allowed Marco Mapelli back through as the pair made significant contact.

The following lap, Campbell got back into the draft on the Mistral Straight and made an identical move. This time the Australian held position and would not be headed.

In the end, Campbell brought the car home with a 5.97s margin to the Team WRT Audi R8 driven by Dries Vanthoor, Kelvin van der Linde and Charles Weerts, with the Lamborghini coming home in third.

Campbell was surprised to take the win considering the bad luck they encountered leading into the race.

“Yeah, wow! Going into the race we certainly didn’t expect that,” Campbell said. “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.”

Fellow countryman and Carrera Cup Australia winner Jordan Love did not make it to the finish. He, Miklas Born and Yannick Mettler completed 119 laps in their Mercedes-AMG GT3, but were not classified as finishers.

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