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TEAM AKKA-ASP 2017: SOMETHING NEW UNDER THE HELMETS

Just a few days before the Blancpain GT Series test day at the Paul Ricard circuit in the south of France, Team AKKA-ASP is unveiling its programme and drivers for the 2017 season. There will be a number of new elements behind the wheel: talents from the four corners of the world, coming from various parts of the sport, but also plenty of solid experience and drivers who have remained faithful to Jérôme POLICAND’s team. Entering four Mercedes-AMG GT3 cars, two in Pro and two in Pro-AM, over the full Blancpain GT Series, Team AKKA-ASP’s season promises to be thrilling. After claiming four vice-championship titles in AM and Pro-AM in 2016, as well as an overall victory in Barcelona with its PRO line-up, Team AKKA-ASP is definitely a sure value in the series this season, and is certainly going to be one of the teams to beat!akka_2017

Still glowing after its victory in the main race at Barcelona during the final round of the Blancpain Sprint Cup, Team AKKA-ASP will be heading back to the track with a number of changes. This season, four Mercedes-AMG GT3 cars will carry the colours of the French team. Two of them will be entered in the PRO category in both championships, the Sprint and Endurance Cups of the Blancpain GT Series, and two others in the Pro-AM category, also in Sprint and Endurance. Most of the new drivers will make their debut alongside regulars of the Tarne-based team.

AKKA 2017 PRO 88 001
As far as the PRO crews are concerned, Tristan VAUTIER will once again be present, taking part in the Blancpain Endurance Cup with the #88 car. Tristan will also be driving a Mercedes-AMG GT3 throughout the season, but this time on the other side of the Atlantic, in the American IMSA series, where he will be driving for the SunEnergy1 Racing Team. In the Blancpain GT Series the Frenchman will be sharing the car with Porto Rican driver Felix SERRALLES, a Formula 3 graduate who has also raced in Indy Lights, and Spanish driver Daniel JUNCADELLA, official AMG driver, who raced single-seaters (and the DTM) before becoming a test driver in Formula One.
Felix and Daniel will also team up, still in the #88, for the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup, where only two drivers share the car.

AKKA 2017 PRO 90 001
The second Mercedes-AMG GT3 car will carry the number 90. In the Endurance category, the car will have another high-quality trio of drivers. The Austrian driver Matthias LAUDA, a reference in single-seaters, followed by a career in the DTM and GT endurance, will team up with Raffaele MARCIELLO, from Italy, who won the European FIA Formula 3 Championship in 2013, test driver in Formula One in 2015 (Ferrari Sauber) and the British driver Michael MEADOWS, who has experience in both single-seaters and GTs, and who has already competed in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup. Raffaele and Michael will drive the #90 for the Sprint section of the Blancpain GT Series.

AKKA 2017 PROAM 87 001-2
As far as the Pro-AM crews are concerned, the « veterans » will run alongside the « newcomers » to give a mix that should prove explosive!

For the #87 in Endurance, Jean-Luc BEAUBELIQUE (vice-champion AM 2016 Endurance Cup) and Mauro RICCI, faithful team regulars, will be joined by a very promising young talent, Jules GOUNON, who previously competed in single-seaters and the French Porsche Carrera Cup before taking part in the ADAC GT Masters in Germany last year. A line-up which combined experience and sheer talent. Jean-Luc and Jules will drive the same car in the Sprint series. A duo to keep an eye on …

AKKA 2017 PROAM 89 001
The #89 Mercedes-AMG GT3 will be in the hands of some old friends in the Endurance Cup, in the shape of Swiss driver Daniele PERFETTI, a regular of both the team and the sport, and Ludovic BADEY from Lyon, who is making his return to AKKA-ASP team. These two will be joined by the Helvetic-Greek driver Alex FONTANA, a single-seater specialist and McLaren GT Driver in 2016.

AKKA 2017 PROAM 89b 001
As for the other three cars, the #89 will also be competing in the Blancpain Sprint Cup but with a totally different crew. The French pair Christophe BOURRET and Jean-Philippe BELLOC will take part in all five rounds of the championship. A well-practiced duo, which knows the subject well and which finished third in Pro-AM in last year’s competition.

AKKA 2017 72 002
Anthony PONS will also be a driver to keep an eye on in the Blancpain GT Sports Club, this year driving a Mercedes-AMG GT3 #72. The Frenchman knows the series, reserved 100% for non-professional drivers, extremely well. Mauro RICCI will also take part in some of the races which run in parallel to a number of the Blancpain GT Series events.

A real concentrate of young talents and confirmed experience, but also true professionalism which will take the AKKA-ASP team forward with the same single aim: victory.

This year’s Blancpain GT Series calendar will take the participants to some of the most beautiful circuits in Europe: Italy, Great Britain, Belgium, France, Belgium, Hungary, Germany and Spain. Of course, the highlight of the Endurance season will take place in Belgium at the end of July, on the challenging and magical circuit of Spa-Francorchamps for the blue riband GT endurance event, the 24 Hours…

Before heading to Misano (Italy) in one month’s time for the first round of the 2017 season, the AKKA-ASP team will start with some test sessions in Italy on the Monza and Misano tracks.
Then, they will meet up the teams and drivers of the Series for a test run on March 13th and 14th at the Paul Ricard circuit for the traditional official pre-season test session. The perfect time to unveil their weapons before the final entrance into the arena.

The Crews

• Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup

PRO category
#90 Raffaele MARCIELLO (ITA) – Michael MEADOWS (GBR) – Matthias LAUDA (AUT)
#88 Felix SERRALLES (PRI) – Daniel JUNCADELLA (ESP) – Tristan VAUTIER (FRA)

Pro-AM category
#87 Jean Luc BEAUBELIQUE (FRA) – Mauro RICCI (ITA) – Jules GOUNON (FRA)
#89 Daniele PERFETTI (SUI) – Alex FONTANA (SUI) – Ludovic BADEY (FRA)

• Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup

PRO category
#90 Raffaele MARCIELLO (ITA) – Michael MEADOWS (GBR)
#88 Felix SERRALLES (PRI) – Daniel JUNCADELLA (ESP)

Pro-AM category
#87 Jean Luc BEAUBELIQUE (FRA) – Jules GOUNON (FRA)
#89 Christophe BOURRET (FRA) – Jean-Philippe BELLOC (FRA)

• Blancpain GT Sport Club

#72 Anthony Pons (FRA)

Blancpain GT Series Calendar

13th/14th March : Test Day Paul-Ricard (France)
1st/2nd April : Misano (Italy) – Sprint
22nd /23rd April : Monza (Italy) – Endurance
6th /7th May : Brands Hatch (Great-Britain) – Sprint
13th/14th May : Silverstone (Great-Britain) – Endurance
2nd/4th June : Zolder (Belgium) – Sprint
23rd/24th June : Paul-Ricard (France) – Endurance
4th July : Test Day 24 Hours of Spa (Belgium) – Endurance
27th/30th July : 24 Hours of Spa – (Belgium) – Endurance
25th/27th August: Budapest (Hungary) – Sprint
15th/17th September : Nürburgring (Germany) – Sprint
30th Sept./1st Oct.: Barcelona – (Spain) – Endurance

Source. RACE COMMUNICATIONS/Team AKKA-ASP

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