Saturday 26 August 2017

ELMS 2017 - 4 Hours of Le Castellet: Nicolas Lapierre dominates qualifying in clean sweep for Dragonspeed

Under a very sunny sky and with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees, Nicolas Lapierre clinched pole position this afternoon for the fourth round of the 2017 European Le Mans Series, the 4 hours of Le Castellet. 

Nicolas Lapierre has had a perfect weekend so far; after setting the fastest times in both free practice sessions at the Paul Ricard track in the south of France, he also claimed pole position this afternoon in his #21 Dragonspeed Oreca 07.  The Frenchman set a time of 1.52.761, his fastest time of the weekend. To make the success of the Dragonspeed team complete, Léo Roussel put the sister car #22 G-Drive Oreca also on the front row with a 1.72.761, 0.145 seconds behind Lapierre.  Enzo Guibbert showed his speed again in the #39 Graff Oreca, qualifying in third place in 1.53.051. That's once again three French drivers on the top spots of starting grid and a clean sweep for Oreca. 

Matevos Isaakyan was once again the fastest man in a Dallara, taking fourth place on the grid in a 1.53.19. Filipe Albuquerque was the fastest Ligier this afternoon, good enough for fifth place ahead of the second Dallara of Giorgio Sernagiotto. 

After a very thight second practice session, the LMP3 qualifying session was the one to look out for. Ross Kaiser put his #6 360 Racing Ligier on pole position in 2.02.186. Alex Kapadia in the #15 RLR MSport Ligier was second fastest this afternoon, 0.285 seconds behind the leader. Third fastest was Alexandre Cougnaud in the #18 M.Racing-YMR Ligier, 0.137 seconds behind Kapadia. 

The first Norma M30 will start on fourth place tomorrow, courtesy of Yann Ehrlacher in the #19 M.Racing-YMR. Rounding out the top 5 was completed by Sean Rayhall in the #2 United Autosports Ligier.  The first 10 cars again finished within a second from eachother, expect some very close racing tomorrow in LMP3 ! 

Matt Griffin continued his good form since winning last months race at the Red Bull Ring, now claiming pole position in the LMGTE class. Griffin put in a 2.04.202 in his #55 Spirit of Race Ferrari F488 GTE, which was 0.370 seconds faster than Matteo Cairoli in the #77 Proton Porsche. Third place on the grid tomorrow will go to the second Spirit of Race Ferrari of Andrea Bertolini. 

Free Practice 2

This mornings free practice session was red flagged two times when the #8 Duqueine Engineering Norma went into the guardrails in turn 2 early in the session and in the final 15 minutes when the #28 IDEC Sport Ligier stopped on track. 

After 90 minutes it was - who else than - Nicolas Lapierre who topped the timetable again in the #21 Dragonspeed Oreca. His lap of 1.53.546 was 0.321 seconds clear of Matevos Isaakyan in the 27 SMP Racing Dallara and 0.659 seconds ahead of Filipe Albuquerque in the #32 United Autosports Ligier. Enzo Guibbert was fourth fastest ahead of Girogio Sernagiotto in the #47 Cetilar Villorba Corse Dallara. 

Wayne Boyd in the #3 United Autosports Ligier was fastest in the LMP3 class with a 2.05.155. Second fastest was the #19 M.Racing YMR Norma M30 of Yann Erlacher, just 0.047 seconds behind Boyd. Mikkel Jensen in the #9 AT Racing Ligier rounded out the top 3, just 0.073 seconds behind Erlacher. LMP3 was very close this morning, with 11 out of 15 cars who got on track in 1 second. Both leaders in the championship, the #2 United Autosports and #17 Ultimate had issues on their cars and didn't set a time in the second free practice session. 

Matteo Cairoli was outright fastest this morning in the #77 Proton Competition Porsche, putting in a 2.05.753. Matt Griffin in the #55 Spirit of Race Ferrari was second fastest, 0.289 seconds behind the Porsche. Rounding out the top 3 was Darren Turner in the #99 Beechdean Aston Martin.  

The 4 Hours of Le Castellet will be green flagged at noon (12h local time) tomorrow. The race will be streamed live on the elms website: 

Qualifying results 

Kristof Vermeulen.