The Ferdinand Cup arrived with a grid of 30 cars in Pau from May 19th to May 21st, as part of the Classic Grand Prix. It was a breathtaking spectacle for the 46,000 spectators gathered in the stands of the city of Henri IV.
Sumptuous. The adjective sums up the feeling of the competitors at the end of the most prestigious event of the season, as well as the Pau organizers who warmly thanked and congratulated each of the Ferdinand Cup participants for the spectacle provided over three days. The cars and the paddock were beautifully cared for, and the drivers were exceptional in every way. Even though their battles were sometimes intense, no collisions or encounters with the barriers were reported.
From free practice to qualifying, the top positions were constantly occupied by Christophe Terriou (911), who secures the pole position with a narrow margin of 0.286 seconds ahead of his arch-rival Cedric Torres in the 964 RS. With lesser knowledge of the track, Gillian Garret completes the Top-3 aboard his 964 RSR, while Frédéric Ramousse (911 2.8 RSR) takes pole position in the FC2 category, outperforming Stephan Ehrhardt, a newcomer in FC with a stunning 3.2. In FC3, Samuel Serres and Sébastien Puechavy (911 SC) lead the way ahead of Bastien Mathieu (911 SC) and Fabien L'Eplattenier (911 SC).
Unlike the other meetings, the weather is kind as the drivers take to the track for the first race of the weekend. When the lights go out, Torres surprises Terriou, but the latter regains his lead with authority in the second lap. The Swiss driver tries to keep up, but the leader pulls away and wins with a 58.636-second lead. The battle for the third step of the podium heats up between Garret and Damien Kohler (911 3.0 RS), who initially secures the position but is eventually penalized, handing the trophy to Gillian, thereby increasing his lead in the championship. Fifth overall, Ramousse takes his fourth victory in five races in FC2, ahead of Ehrhardt and Franck Seeman, who also competes in his first Ferdinand Cup race with a 964 that he shares with Laurent Girardier. It's another clean sweep in FC3 for the Serres/Puechavy duo, but with a razor-thin margin of 0.362 seconds over Bastien Mathieu. L'Eplattenier completes the podium.
On Sunday, despite the weather forecast predicting rain for the past two weeks, the competitors are greeted with bright sunshine. Christophe Terriou once again leads the pack and achieves a commanding victory, making it six wins in Pau with the Ferdinand Cup. He remains unbeaten in this circuit. His task is made easier by the unfortunate retirement of Cédric Torres in the first lap due to a mechanical failure. Gillian Garret, on the other hand, steadily improves throughout the weekend and secures the second place on the podium, just 0.8 seconds behind the winner. He is joined on the podium by Damien Kohler, who competes in three different categories at Pau. In FC2, with Ramousse experiencing his first retirement of the year, Stephan Ehrhardt claims the victory ahead of Bruno Chaudet (911 SC) and the couple of the year, Benjamin and Maeva Moussion (968 CS), who also step on their first FC2 podium of the season. Finally, in FC3, Bastien Mathieu encounters technical issues, and the victory goes to Samuel Serres and Sébastien Puechavy, who triumph ahead of Fabien L’Eplattenier, whose 911 stops just 500 meters after the checkered flag, and the duo Jérôme Salva / Bruno Vieren on a remarkably efficient little 924 S on the streets of Pau.
Like the race at Dijon, this event also gave rise to a heartwarming story. Several, in fact, but one in particular stood out. It's the story of Anthony Bellina. The driver of the 944 Turbo resides just three kilometers from the circuit and had competed in his first race here last year, finishing on the third step of the podium in the now-defunct FCT category (turbo). Anthony returned this year for only his third race in his career, with the second race solely to be prepared for the return to the Ferdinand Cup! He showed his prowess during the practice sessions, but unfortunately, he couldn't participate in the qualifying due to a gearbox issue. Thanks to a beautiful display of solidarity and numerous phone calls, he managed to find a gearbox in Nogaro, which he worked on throughout the night to be ready for the start on Saturday at 11:30 am. Though he was forced to pull over to the side of the track due to an engine problem, he refused to give up and, with another display of solidarity, managed to get his car back in action. From the last place on the grid, he fought his way up to a remarkable 9th position.e Touched by the experience, he was moved to tears as he discovered the true essence of the Ferdinand Cup's grid: a magnificent universe of camaraderie and sportsmanship.
Complete results are HERE