Production’s Mark Yates Crowned Lotus Cup Europe 2023 Champion at Dijon-Prenois

Wednesday 25 October 2023

Mark Yates was crowned Lotus Cup Europe champion at the 2023 season finale in France last weekend, 6th-8th October, as the championship moved to Dijon-Prenois, a circuit last visited in 2015. It was set to be an action-packed weekend with the overall as well as class championships going down to the final races.

It was a promising start to the weekend for Paul Maréchal as he qualified on pole, the Racing Team Th. Verhiest driver was second in the championship standings coming into the final round. The #52 car set a lap time of 1:23.379 ahead of Tamás Vizin and Thierry Verhiest. Sven Pettersson took pole in the GT Cup class whilst David Harvey and Toby Goodman made sure their returns would not go unnoticed as the two Brits took pole in their respective classes.

The first race of the weekend kicked off with a rolling start, Vizin flew away from the start line, setting himself up for a race long lead. It was a different story however for the gold Evora GT4 of Jason McInulty, the #11 car unfortunately being forced to pull off the track before completing its first lap. The mechanical woes did not stop there as Luxembourg’s Maréchal found himself visiting the marshals at turn 6 halfway through the race as his Exige V6 encountered problems. With Maréchal out of the running, team member Verhiest moved up into second position ahead of Rainer Börgens and GT cup front-runner Pettersson.

Jean-Pierre Genoud-Prachex and Harvey put on quite the show over in the 211/Open class, the 2-Eleven passing the 340R in the opening laps leading to a race long battle that had everyone on the edge of their seats. The two drivers appeared to play a game of chicken as they attempted to out-brake one another with the lead constantly changing, right up until the last lap. The Production class saw its fair share of action too, with current championship leader Mark Yates placing himself at the front of the pack ahead of Robin Nilsson, leaving the remaining cars to fight for third.

Vizin took the chequered flag ahead of Verhiest and Börgens. Pettersson finished 4th, taking the GT Cup win, followed by JP Genoud-Prachex, Harvey and Nathalie Genoud-Prachex who made up the 211/Open class podium. Daniel Palma crossed the line in front of Yates, who took yet another Production win in front of Nilsson and Goodman. Wolfgang Henseler came 12th taking the flag ahead of an unlucky Mick Edwards who found himself involved in two incidents during the race through no fault of his own. Cederholm and Kai Leymann completed the finishers.

It would be an eventful end of the season as drivers made the most of their final opportunity to score points, whilst some had already secured their spot in the championship standings, it was still all to play for for others. Edwards and Maréchal would have a disappointing end to the season as they finished the race from the sidelines due to mechanical issues early on. The rest of the pack however, put on quite the show with battles going on throughout the field much to the joy of the spectators. Despite rival Maréchal being out of the running, Vizin refused to take it easy, the #81 car flying around the circuit and holding onto the lead for the entirety of the race.

ES Motorsport having solved the problems that led to J McInulty’s early retirement from the first race, the Brit seemed set for a class victory after a great standing start that saw him shoot up into the GT Cup lead. The three Evoras had a close race right up until the final lap when flames were spotted coming from the #11 car. The marshals reacted quickly, putting out the fire and ensuring the driver was out of the vehicle and safe.

Hungary’s Vizin took the chequered flag and the last win of the season having successfully defended his Exige Cup championship title ahead of Belgium’s Verhiest who was the only driver to have classified in all 14 races of the season. Börgens finished 3rd, joining fellow Komo-Tec team member Vizin on the overall podium once again. Pettersson took the GT Cup win along with the class championship ahead of Henseler and Exige Cup’s Palma. JP Genoud-Prachex crossed the line ahead of wife N Genoud-Prachex, securing his 211/Open championship title. Goodman took the Production win ahead of Yates who was later crowned Overall and Production 2023 Champion having managed to stay at the top of the championship standings. J McInulty classified 11th, 3rd in the GT Cup class despite the fire, ahead of Nilsson and Cederholm, the #32 driver taking the chequered flag for the final time, the Swede will be handing over the Elise Cup R to team manager and close friend Guy Janssens son Robbe for the 2024 season putting an end to two decades of Lotus racing.

Of course, we would like to say a massive thank you to the wonderful marshals, medical teams, event officials and everyone else who makes it possible for us to compete, we are hugely grateful to you all.

Podium standings:

Race 1OverallExige CupGT Cup211 OpenProduction
1st T Vizin T Vizin S Pettersson JP Genoud-Prachex M Yates
2nd T Verhiest T Verhiest W Henseler David Harvey R Nilsson
3rd R Börgens R Börgens N Genoud-Prachex T Goodman
Race 2OverallExige CupGT Cup211 OpenProduction
1st T Vizin T Vizin S Pettersson JP Genoud-Prachex T Goodman
2nd T Verhiest T Verhiest W Henseler N Genoud-Prachex M Yates
3rd R Börgens R Börgens J McInulty R Nilsson

2023 Lotus Cup Europe Champions:

Overall and Production: Mark Yates (UNITED KINGDOM – Elise Cup R)

GT Cup: Sven Pettersson (SWEDEN – Evora GT4)

Exige Cup: Tamas Vizin (HUNGARY – Exige V6 Cup R)

211/Open: Jean-Pierre Genoud-Prachex (FRANCE – 2-Eleven)

 

Championship standings: www.lotuscupeurope.com/standings

More pics can be found on: Facebook / Instagram