Saturday 24 September 2016

European Le Mans Series - 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps: Dragonspeed on top again in qualifying

Third session on track, third time Nicolas Lapierre and the #21 Dragonspeed Oreca05/Nissan is on the top of the timesheets. 

After his unfortunate crash from this morning, Lapierre showed his outright speed again, being 0.445 seconds faster than everyone else in qualifying. His laptime of 2.06.603 was even faster than the fastest lap in qualifying during the WEC race back here in May (2.06.748 by Rene Rast in the G-Drive Oreca) . 

Behind Lapierre, both championship contenders were battling it out for the second spot on the front row tomorrow. Matthias Beche ultimately won the battle with Harry Tincknell, putting the #46 Oreca ahead of the #38 Gibson with a margin of 0.166 seconds. Completing the top 5 are Tristan Gommendy in the #33 Eurasia Oreca and Andrea Pizzitola in the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JSP2.

Enzo Guibbert gave the Graff team their first pole in the European Le Mans Series. Right untill the last lap, it seemed like Matthew Bell would claim pole position in his #3 United Autosports Ligier, until Guibbert drove an incredible lap in the dying moments of the session. Pole for the Graff #9 then in 2.14.392, just 0.064 seconds faster than the #3. Nigel Moore was third fastest in the #26 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier, only 0.073 seconds behind Bell.  

Another first in the GTE class where Alessandro Pier Guidi was fastest overall in his #56 AT Racing Ferrari in 2.17.038. Matteo Cairoli, who won the Porsche Superup race here back in August was second quickest in the #88 Proton Competition Porsche, 0.338 seconds behind Pier Guidi. Completing the top 3 in class is Matt Griffin in the #55 AF Corse Ferrari. Championship leaders JMW Motorsport will start from fourth place tomorrow/

As in LMP2, Pier Guidi outpaced the fastest qualifying lap that was set during the WEC race in May (2.17.603 by Davide Rigon in the GTE-Pro Ferrari #71). 

The 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps will start tomorrow afternoon at 14.00h. Live broadcast is available at the ELMS website.  

Kristof Vermeulen.