Thursday 10 May 2018

ELMS: 43 cars ready for the 4 Hours of Monza

The European Le Mans Series returns to the "Temple of speed" this weekend for the second race of the 2018 season.  43 cars are on the entry list for the 4 Hours of Monza, ready for another exciting and action filled weekend on one of Europe's finest racetracks. 

Another well filled grid in the LMP2 class, with 18 cars going through scrutineering in Monza today. 
In the #22 United Autosports Ligier, Filipe Albuquerque takes back his seat from Bruno Senna, after missing out the race at Paul Ricard due to a clash with the IMSA championship. Another "new" face in the paddock this weekend is Felipe Nasr in the #47 Cetilar Villorba Corse.  Nasr replaces Andrea Belicchi for the remainder of the season and Le Mans who had no choice than to take a step downdue to back problems at and after Le Castellet.

Two teams arrived in Monza straight from the WEC race at Spa last weekend: G-Drive Racing and TDS Racing.  G-Drive won its class in Belgium with their Oreca 07 driven by Roman Rusinov, Jean-Eric Vergne and Andrea Pizzitola.  TDS Racing added the 4 hours of Monza to its WEC schedule, the team's Oreca 07 racing again under #33 in the ELMS, with the same driver line-up: Matthieu Vaxiviere, François Perrodo and Loïc Duval.

Racing Engineering won their first ever race in the ELMS last month.  Norman Nato, Olivier Pla and Paul Petit arrived in Monza with the goal of doing it all over again this weekend after a flawless weekend in the south of France.  Dragonspeed (DNF) and United Autosports (9th  and 12th) will be out for a strong finish at Monza this weekend, making sure they'll still have a shot at the championship when they leave Italy Sunday evening. 

19 cars will be on the grid in the LMP3 class, one more than the opening race in La Castellet last month. The #20 Racing for Poland Ligier JSP3 joins the championship for this race.  The car will be driven by Henning Enqvist, Tomasz Blicharski and Alex Fontana.

Job Van Uitert won the 4 hours of Le Castellet in the #15 RLR M-Sport Ligier with John Farano and Rob Garofall, they will face some fierce competition again from M.Racing YMR which won here last season in their #19 Norma M30.  Nicolas Ferrer, David Droux and Lucas Légéret qualified on pole in Le Castellet and finished second. Monza is a high speed track that suits the Norma very well, the #19 should well be in the mix for the win this weekend.  There's six Italian drivers in the class, Giorgio Mondini in the #11 Eurointernational Ligier probably has the best shot for a podium place again, together with another young Dutchman: Kay Van Berlo.  

A few more driver changes to be noted: Mikkel Jensen returns to his seat in the #9 AT Racing, replacing Yann Clairey; Mark Kvamme takes the place of James Dayson in the #12 Eurointernational and Hendrik Still in the #14 Inter Europol Competition replaces Henning Enqvist (who moved to the #20).  

In LMGTE it's back to the six full season entries, equally split up between 3 Ferrari's and 3 Porsches. JMW Motorsport won in Monza last year, in which was the final race of their 458 Italia before switching to the new 488 in Le Mans. After their win at Paul Ricard, Miguel Molina & co will be out for a second victory this season.

2 remarkable driver changes have to be noted at Proton Competition, as Marc Lieb and Gianmaria Bruni join the team for the race in Monza.  Marc Lieb replaces Dennis Olsen in the #77 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR, joining Christian Ried and Marvin Dienst, while Gianmaria Bruni will race the #88 Porsche instead of Matteo Cairoli.  

Track action starts tomorrow with the first 90 minute free practice session at 11h45 and the Bronze driver collective test in the afternoon (16h15). 

Useful links:

Kristof Vermeulen.