Saturday 13 April 2019

ELMS: IDEC Sport and Dragonspeed set the pace in first practice sessions at Le Castellet

For the second time this week, the lap record at Circuit Paul Ricard was broken in the LMP2 class.  Monday night Anders Fjordbach set a new record in his #20 High Class Racing Oreca 07, this morning Paul Loup Chatin shaved another 0.068 seconds from his time to set the new record at 1.40.336 in the #28 IDEC Sport Oreca.  

Nico Lapierre was second fastest this morning in the #37 Cool Racing, just under half a second behind his fellow Frenchman. Ben Hanley - who set the quickest time yesterday - got himself into third place with a 1.41.227.  The Oreca’s dominated the LMP2 class again, while Paul Di Resta was the fastest of the Ligier drivers for the second time this weekend, putting his #22 United Autosports Ligier JSP2 on sixth place, 1.6 seconds off Chatin’s record lap. 

David Droux was the first driver to beat Damiani Fiorivanti in the LMP3 class since Monday evening.  Droux’ lap of 1.51.449 was just 0.051 seconds quicker than the Italian, but enough to put his #9 Realteam Norma on top of the list this morning.  Nigel Moore was third fastest in the #13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier, breaking through yesterday’s domination of Norma in the class. 

The Proton Competition Porsches continued to set the pace in the GTE Class.  Thomas Preining in the #88 took the honours for the fastest lap in 1.53.473, holding off Matteo Cairoli in the #77 Porsche and Michelle Gatting in the #83 Kessel Racing Ferrari. 

Ben Hanley was the fastest man on track yesterday morning, the Englishman setting a time of 1.41.227 in the #21 Dragonspeed Oreca 07. Arjun Maini didn’t miss his debut in the LMP2 class, immediately putting the #43 RLR Msport Oreca on second place, 0.858 seconds behind Hanley.  Job Van Uitert obviously feels right at home in the LMP2 machinery, setting exactly the same time on the board as Maini in the #26 G-Drive Aurus 01. 

More Oreca’s followed with an impressive Antonin Borga setting the fourth time in the #37 Cool Racing, holding off new lap record holder Anders Fjordbach in the #20 High Class Racing Oreca 07. 

United Autosports took command of the Ligiers with Paul Di Resta in seventh position; 1.42.288 his best lap in the #22 Ligier JSP2. Leo Roussel was the second fastest Ligier driver with the #34 Inter Europol Competition in 10th place overall.  The sole Dallara on the grid of Jack Manchester, Olivier Pla and Ben Barnicoat only managed three outlaps yesterday morning, leaving the #45 Carlin on last place after the first practice session.

Norma was on top in the LMP3 class, with four Nissan powered M30’s quickest overall. Domiani Floravanti continued to impress in the #10 Oregon Team Norma with another fastest time in 1.50.592.  For Florivanti the fourth session in a row where he’s fastest since setting the lap record in an LMP3 car on Monday evening.  The Italian driver was 0.782 seconds faster than David Droux in the new #9 Realteam Norma, followed by Yann Ehrlacher and Lucas Legeret in the #19 M.Racing.  Both team mates within 0.16 seconds from each other which might give them a big advantage during the race on Sunday. Jean-Baptiste Lahaye in the #17 Ultimate Norma was fourth fastest on Friday morning. 

Best of the rest was Wayne Boyd in the #2 United Autosports Ligier with a best tome of 1.52.068, over 1.3 seconds off the pace of the quickest Norma. He was followed by Ross Kaiser, the only driver to go round in the #6 360 Racing and Colin Noble in another Norma, the #7 of Nielsen Racing. 

Contrary to the results of both test days, Porsche took the GTE class in hand yesterday with a clean sweep of the first three places. Proton Competition took the first two spots with Matteo Cairoli quickest in the #77 911 RSR (1.54.473), ahead of Thomas Preiling in the #88 sister car (+0.048). Jörg Bergmeister completed the top 3 for Porsche in the Team Project 1 Porsche (1.54.679). 

Aaron Scott in the #55 Spirit of Race Ferrari was the fastest non-Porsche driver, leading a pack of 3 Ferrari’s.  His best laptime of 1.55.332 was just under a second slower than Cairoli’s.  The #83 all female Kessel Ferrari and last year’s runner up JMW Motorsport 488 GTE rounded out the top six of the GTE Class. 

The Bronze driver test on Friday afternoon was run in wet conditions, but still saw 22 cars venturing out on track.  John Falb was quickest in the #25 Algarve Pro Oreca 07 in 2.02.588, with John Farano about 0.250 second behind him in the #43 RLR Msport Oreca.  Alexandre Coigny made it an Oreca top 3 in the #37 Cool Racing. 

Paul Scheusner set the pace in the LMP3 class with the #14 Inter Europol Ligier (2.08.349), followed by the youngster of the field, Gustas Grinbergas in the #10 Oregon Norma.   Fastest in GTE was WEC driver Egidio Perfetti in the Project 1 Porsche (2.10.786).