ELMS: Debut victory for DragonSpeed Oreca at Spa-Francorchamps
DragonSpeed #21 crew has scored its first European Le Mans Series victory in the 4 hours of Spa-Francorchamps today. The drivers of the victorious Oreca 05 LMP2 prototype were Nicolas Lapierre, Ben Hanley and Henrik Hedman.
Lapierre, the most experienced of three drivers, secured the win in the closing laps of the race by overtaking Laurens Vanthoor for the lead. Vanthoor was driving the #47 Team WRT’s Ligier JS P2, together with his brother Dries Vanthoor and former F1 driver Will Stevens. The #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing, the leading team of the championship, completed the podium. The drivers of the #46 Oreca 05 were Pierre Thiriet, Mathias Beche and Ryo Hirakawa.
Decisive pass half an hour before the end
The #21 Dragonspeed Oreca was the dominant car this weekend, with best lap times in the qualifying and free practice sessions. In the race, which was interrupted by three Safety car periods and two Full Course Yellow periods, for a total of almost an hour, the #21 crew wasn’t in front until 30 minutes from the end, when Lapierre made a pass for the lead.
Prior to that, Safety car interventions and pit stops caused some changes in the order, so the early leaders in the #38 G-Drive car dropped to fifth place. The championship-leading TDS Oreca Nissan was able to climb back up to third by the end. Five minutes before the end Andrea Pizzitola parked the Algarve Pri Racing’s #25 car in the gravel trap, so the race ended under Full Course Yellow.
LMP3 title for the #2 United Autosports’ crew
In the LMP3 class, the #9 Graff Racing’s Ligier JS P3, driven by Paul Petit, Eric Trouillet and Enzo Guibbert, took its second win in a row. Two United Autosports’ crews completed the podium. The second-placed crew in the #2 car, Alex Brundle, Christian England and Mike Guasch, secured the LMP3 title for 2016 season.
In the GTE class, JMW Motorsport’s Rob Smith, Rory Butcher and Andrea Bertolini extended their points lead with their third win in a row. The #66 Ferrari took a class win ahead of #88 Proton Competition’s Porsche 911 RSR, driven by Matteo Cairoli, Christian Ried and Gianluca Roda. One more Ferrari, the #55 AF Corse’s car, driven by Matt Griffin, Duncan Cameron and Aaron Scott, finished third in GTE class.