Tuesday 25 July 2017

Michelin Le Mans Cup: DKR Engineering dominates in Austria

Alex Toril and Jean Glorieux extended their Le Mans Cup championship lead on Saturday when they crossed the line first at Austria’s Red Bull Ring in their #3 DKR Engineering Norma M30 Nissan LMP3. 

SPV Motorsport started from pole position in their Ligier JSP3, edging out the eventual race winners with just 0,01 seconds in the final lap op qualifying. Jean Glorieux didn't wait too long to take the lead in his Norma M30 and passed Alvaro Fontes in the second lap of the race, immediately building up a gap to the rest of the field. 

When Alain Costa spins into the gravel at T4, the first full course yellow of the race is being waived. At the restart Alex Kapadia in the #14 RLR Msport Ligier - who started on 18th position - dives into second place and starts to close the gap with the leading Norma, down to 3,4 seconds. 

Fuel, tyres and new drivers in the pitstop window, after which Alex Toril in the #3 Norma now leads Ross Warburton in the #14 Ligier. The RLR M-Sport team didn't comply with the minimum pitstop time, so had to take a stop & go penalty, crushing down their chances for a victory or a podium finish. The #79 Nielsen Racing Ligier of  Colin Noble now got up to second, with the #65 Graff Ligier of Emilien Carde behind in third position.

Alexander Toril held on to his lead in the final part of the race to cross the line first with a 13,5 second margin on the #79 Ligier and the #65 Graff Ligier. This is the second win for the team after their success at the Road to Le Mans race last month. In the championship, DKR Engineering (61 points) now has a 17 point lead over Nielsen Racing (44 points).  

In the GT3 class the honours went to the #46 Ebimotors Lamborghini Huracan where Emanuele Busnelli and Fabio Babini took a lights to flag win from pole position. The #51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 458 Italia which had been fast all weekend in the hands of Italian Maurizio Mediani and Swiss Christoph Ulrich finished second 15.746 behind the Lamborghini. Flick Haigh and Joe Osborne brought Optimum Motorsport’s #75 Audi R8 LMS home for the final step on the podium in 1:59:37.233, 24.6 seconds adrift of the winners. 

The #5 Ram Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 of Remon Vos and Tom Onslow-Cole failed to finish after an incident in the second hour at Turn 1. Contact with an LMP3 (#33) left the right rear wheel of the Mercedes smashed as Vos spun at the end of the T1 kerbs. Although the Mercedes made it back to the pits the car was retired after 1:11:26.907 and 44 laps. 

Kristof Vermeulen
Part of this article first was published at www.sportscarglobal.com