Saturday 22 September 2018

ELMS: Vergne takes pole for G-Drive and closes in on the title

After a thrilling final minute in today’s qualifying session, Jean-Eric Vergne scored championship leaders G-Drive’s first pole position this season. 

© Bob Ten Kley

It seemed like Filipe Albuquerque was about to clinch first spot on the grid tomorrow when he drove a 2.00.912 in the final minute of the session.  Vergne responded however and set a stunning 2.00.735 to take pole position for the 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. An incredible lap, 1.7 seconds faster than last season’s pole time.  The second row of the grid will be filled by the #29 Duqueine Engineering of Nelson Panciatici and the #28 IDEC Sport of Paul Loup Chatin. Rounding out the top 5 is the #31 APR - Rebellion Racing Oreca of Gustavo Menezes. 

© Bob Ten Kley

Pole position gives the G-Drive crew an extra point in the championship, increasing their lead over the #24 Racing Engineering Oreca to 35 points. Roman Rusinov & co will be out for the championship tomorrow and their fourth win in a row this season. 

© Bob Ten Kley

Mathieu Lahaye scored the third pole position for Ultimate in the LMP3 class with the #17 Norma M30. With a laptime of 2.13.699, the Frenchman outpaced  Mattia Drudi in the #11 Eurointernational with only 0.065 seconds. Ross Kaiser put the #6 360 Racing Ligier on third position (2.13.874), followed by Colin Noble in the #7 Ecurie Ecosse Ligier.  Championship leaders RLR Msport will start from fifth place. Once again, the LMP3 qualifying session was very close with the first 10 cars within a second.

Porsche continued to dominate the LMGTE class, with all three Porsches taking the top spots in the session. Once again Matteo Cairoli was the fastest man on track, scoring pole position with a laptime of 2.15.654 in the #88 Proton Competition 911 RSR.  Dennis Olsen took second place in 2.16.354, exactly 0.7 seconds behind Cairoli in the #77 sister car.  Riccardo Pera set the #80 Ebimotors Porsche on third place for tomorrow’s race.  Best of the Ferrari’s was Miguel Molina in the JMW F488 GTE, but already over 2 seconds behind the leading Porsche. 

Free Practice 2

Earlier today the G-Drive crewe took the top spot in the second and final free practice session at Francorchamps. With 2 red flags, a full course yellow and a mid-session splash of rain, it was quite an entertaining 90 minutes.

© Bob Ten Kley

Vergne set a quickest time of 2.02.348, followed by Nicolas Jamin in the #29 Duqueine Engineering Oreca in 2.02.348.  Paul Loup Chatin (#28 IDEC Sport) and Gustavo Menezes (#31 APR Rebellion) followed close to make it a top 4 Oreca finish again. Fifth fastest and first Ligier was Hugo De Sadeleer in the #32 United Autosports. James Allen was the biggest victim of the weather conditions wen he went off at the pif-paf and into the barriers with the #40 Graff run G-Drive Oreca 07. 

© Bob Ten Kley

Job Van Uitert was fastest in the championship leading RLR MSport Ligier JSP3, in a time of 2.14.423. Matthieu Lahaye followed close as his #17 Ultimate Norma came up to pace, just 0.066 seconds behind the Dutchman. Monza winner Mattia Drudi set the third fastest time in his #11 Eurointernational Ligier.  Rounding out the top 5 were the #4 Cool Racing and the #2 United Autosports Ligiers. 

© Bob Ten Kley

In LMGTE the Porsche domination continued Dennis Olsen now quickest in the #77 Proton Competition in 2.19.290. Ricardo Pera in the Ebimotors 911 and Giorgio Roda Jr in the second Proton Porsche rounded out the top three. JMW once again was the quickest Ferrari this morning in 2.20.016 set by Alex MacDowall. 

Today's results: 
LMGTE Qualifs


Due to the weather forecast and for the safety of all, the 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps start will be given at 10:45 tomorrow morning.

Kristof Vermeulen
Pictures: Bob Ten Kley