Maxime Martin, Bas Leinders and Yelmer Buurman won the third round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Paul Ricard for Marc VDS. A stellar run by Martin resulted in a seven-second victory over the Hexis McLaren of Alvaro Parente, Stef Dusseldorp and Alexander Sims.
Hexis had taken the lead in the first round of pit stops, but then lost it again with just over 10 minutes remaining in the race. Heading into the final hour of the race it was points leader Kessel leading the field, but the Swiss team lost several seconds in the pits and as a result Alexander Sims was able to move into the lead of the race ahead of Kessel's Daniele Zampieri.
Sims and Zampieri continued to fight for the overall lead, while Martin got stuck in the heavy traffic and lost valuable seconds on the leading duo. With just over half an hour remaining he finally cleared traffic, but by then the Belgian driver was already 11sec behind race leader Sims.
Once more Martin closed the gap to Zampieri and passed him to move into second position. Zampieri pitted on the same lap to serve a stop and go penalty for a pit stop infringement. The penalty resulted in the JRM Nissan moving up into third place.
Sims did his best to stay in the lead, but he was unable to hold off a stunning Martin. With just over 10 minutes left in the race, Martin passed the Hexis McLaren coming out of the Signes corner and into the Double Droit de Beausset. After 81 laps Martin crossed the line to claim Marc VDS's first Blancpain victory of 2013.
"I tried to push and push until the end and I came back through the traffic and I got the win," Martin said. "It is really good to win here before Spa and come back in to the championship."
Boutsen Ginion's David Dermont and Frederic Vervisch dominated Pro-Am and won the class, finishing 11th overall. Nissan RJN's Steve Doherty, Mark Shulzhitskiy and Alex Buncombe finished second in class, followed by the Grasser Lamborghini.