Sunday, 22 July 2018

ELMS: Red Bull Ring practice and qualifying pictures

A selection of our pictures from practice and qualifying sessions for the 4 hours of Red Bull Ring this afternoon.  Weather has been unpredictable all weekend with sunshine and pooring rain.  Predictions for the race change by the minute, so we could have a very interesting afternoon ... 

Saturday, 21 July 2018

ELMS: Pole position for Paul Loup Chatin on the Red Bull Ring

Paul Loup Chatin continued to dominate the LMP2 class on a dry and sunny Red Bull Ring this afternoon, securing pole postition for tomorrows race in the #28 IDEC Sport Oreca.  

Chatin took the team's second pole position of the season in his final flying lap at the end of the session with a time of 1.19.246. He ultimately pushed Nicolas Jamin in the #29 Duqueine Engineering Oreca from pole position with only 0.019 seconds. Norman Nato secured third position on the grid in his #24 Racing Engineering Oreca, 0.122 seconds slower than Jamin. Nico Lapierre set the fourth fastest time in 1.19.423. 

Championship leaders G-Drive Racing will start from fifth place tomorrow, immediately followed by their main challengers TDS Racing. The battle for pole was very close, with the first six cars within half a second. First non-Oreca on the grid is the #22 United Autosports Ligier of Filipe Albuquerque after setting a best time of 1.19.950, 0.704 seconds behind the fastest Oreca. Felipe Nasr was the quickest of the Dallara drivers, starting from 10th position tomorrow in the #47 Cetilar Villorba Corse. 

Mikkel Jensen seemed to have secured pole position in the LMP3 class in AT Racing's home race.  However, his laptime of 1.26.408 was deleted by the race stewards due to exceeding track limits.  This promoted the #17 Ultimate Nissan powered Norma M30 of Mathieu Lahaye to pole, with a time of 1.26.519. 17 year old Swiss driver Lucas Légéret in the #19 M.Racing-YMR made it a Norma front row, just 0.175 seconds from pole.  The #15 RLR Msport Ligier will start third after Job van Uitert set a time of 1.26.703. Qualifying in the LMP3 class was (very) tight again, under 0.5 seconds separating the first seven cars on the grid. Antonio Borga in the #4 Cool Ligier and Ricardo Sanchez in the #8 DKR Engineering Norma completed this afternoon's top 5. 

Miguel Molina claimed pole position in the LMGTE class with his #66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari F488.  His time of 1.28.827 was 0.098 seconds faster than Matteo Cairoli in the #88 Proton Competition Porsche. Surprisingly, this is the first pole position for last years champions JMW since Hungary 2013. The second row of the grid will be occupied by 2 Ferrari's:  the #83 Krohn Racing Ferrari of Andrea Bertolini (1.28.967) and the #55 Spirit of Race of Matt Griffin. The #77 Proton and #80 Ebimotors Porsches will close tomorrow's grid with fifth and sixth place in class.  

Free Practice 2

This morning's Free Practice session started dry but within minutes the clouds moved in and the heavens opened sending the field into the pits for wet tyres. 

Paul-Loup Chatin in the #28 IDEC Sport Oreca again set the fastest time with a 1:19.616 on lap 4, just moments before the heavy rain began to fall, +0.134s ahead of Andrea Pizzitola in the #26 G-Drive Oreca. Next up was Norman Nato pushing the #24 Racing Engineering Oreca to a 1:19.832. The first of the non-Oreca chassis was the #35 SMP Racing Dallara P217  in fifth position with a time of 1:20.952, +1.336s off the leading Oreca's time. It was another bad session for the Ligiers with the fastest being the #32 United Autosports car in which Hugo de Sadeleer set a 1:21.963 on lap 4. 

In the LMP3 class there was nearly 13s separating 1st and last spot. Job van Uitert took his #15 RLR MSport Ligier JS P3 to the top of the table setting a 1:27.176 on lap 5. Second was David Droux in the #19 M. Racing - YMR, 0.604s off the Dutchman's pace. Third fastest went to American Sean Rayhall who took the #2 United Autosports Ligier he shares with John Falb to a 1:28.486 lap. Yesterday's fastest class car the #17 Ultimate finished the session in penultimate place after setting it's best tine of 1:38.237 on lap 34. 

Ferrari pipped Porsche in the LMGTE class with Matt Griffin setting a time of 1:29.845 in the #55 Spirit of Race F488. Second was Dennis Olsen in the #77 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR followed by Fabio Babini in the Ebimotors 911; 0.029s adrift with a 1:30.051. Yesterday's class fastest, JMW Motorsport, finished the session in fourth place followed by the #88 Proton Competition and the #83 Krohn Racing Ferrari.

Race start tomorrow is scheduled right on midday at 12.00h.  The weather forecast has been changing all weekend, but it looks like we're up for a wet race tomorrow afternoon. 

Qualifying results: 

Results Free practice 2

Text: John Stevens & Kristof Vermeulen
Pictures: Kristof Vermeulen & JellyBaby.Media

Friday, 20 July 2018

ELMS: The European Le Mans Series arrive in Austria for the third race of the season

The European Le Mans Series return to the Red Bull Ring this weekend for their third race of the 2018 season.  With its stunning setting on the Styrian Alps and top of the line accomodation, the Red Bull Ring is certainly one of the team's – and media's – favourite tracks on the calendar. 

42 cars arrived in Austria for Sunday's 4 hour race; 18 in both the LMP2 and LMP3 class and 6 in the LMGTE category.  G-Drive's Roman Rusinov and Andrea Pizzitola arrive in Spielberg as championship leaders with a total of 37 points, and are joined again by newly crowned Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne.  The TDS trio of François Perrodo, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Loïc Duval are just 1 point behind with 36 points.  It's still unclear though if they will complete in all the remaining rounds of the championship as the team initially only intended to do the opening three races of the season. 

 Le Castellet winners Norman Nato, Olivier Pla and Paul Petit are currently third with 35 points.  All is still to play for between those three teams, so we might well see the championship go undecided 'till the chequered flag at Portimao end October. 

In the LMP3 class it's the #11 Eurointernational drivers Giorgio Mondini and Kay Van Berlo who are leading the series with a 10 point bonus (40 vs 30) on Ross Kaiser and Terrence Woodward in the #6 360 Racing Ligier. Currently in third position with 25,5 points are Rob Garofall, John Farano and Job Van Uitert in the #15 RLR Msport.  Watch out for the #9 AT Racing Ligier this weekend, as it's the home race for father and son Talkanitsa and Mikkel Jensen.

JMW Motorsport leads the LMGTE championship with 37 points after their last lap victory at Le Castellet and a fourth place in Monza. ELMS debutants Ebimotors had a strong start of the season with two podium finishes in the Porsche 911 RSR and are trailing JMW with 31 points. Last years winners at the Red Bull Ring Duncan Cameron, Matt Griffin and Aaron Scott won the race in Monza in May and will be eager do to that again here on Sunday afternoon. 

Oreca dominated today's free practice session, taking up the first eight positions in the LMP2 class. All but one Oreca (the #31 APR Rebellion) finished ahead of the Dallara's and Ligiers in the field.  
Paul Loup Chatin in the #28 IDEC Sport Oreca 07 was quickest around the Austrian track. His laptime of 1.20.067 was just 3 thousands of a second faster than Norman Nato in the #24 Racing Engineering Oreca. Matthieu Vaxiviere in the #33 TDS Racing Oreca went third fastest, only 21 thousands behind Nato.  

The first non-Oreca chassis was the #35 SMP Racing Dallara of Matevos Isaakyan who went round in 1.20.836, just under 0.8 seconds slower than Chatin.  Wayne Boyd was the quickest of the Ligier drivers in 10th position overall with a laptime of 1.21.053. 

In LMP3 it was Ultimate who went fastest in their Nissan powered Norma M30. Matthieu Lahaye set a 1.26.927, just 0.018 seconds ahead of Matthew Bell in the #3 United Autosports Ligier.  Another Norma on third place: the #19 M.Racing-YMR of Lucas Legeret, just under 0.4 seconds behind Lahaye. Sean Rayhall in the second United Autosports Ligier and Timur Boguslavkiy in the #5 NEFIS by Speed Factory Ligier rounded out the top 5. 

JMW Motorsport went quickest in the LMGTE class with Miguel Molina at the wheel of the Ferrari F488 in 1.28.829.  Matteo Cairoli put the #88 Proton Competition Porsche on second place, 0.570 seconds behind the Spaniard. Andrea Bertolini in the #83 Krohn Racing Ferrari set the third fastest time this afternoon. 

Text: Kristof Vermeulen