G-Drive Racing #22 won a fantastic race at Monza, for the second round of the European Le Mans Series.
The team, run by DragonSpeed, got a 1-2 result, since the #21 car finished second, ahead of High Class Racing #49 in third.
It was a highly dramatic start to the race. A lot of LMP3 cars had to take avoiding action through turn 1. Racing Team Nederland had some contact and had to come into the pits to get their engine cover refitted.
Larbre Competition #50 hit Eurointernational #12 in the first chicane, where Cool Racing by GPC #4 was caught up, too.
High Class Racing #49 also had a trip through the gravel on the first lap but made a good comeback. Dennis Andersen did an amazing work. He lost a few positions right after getting out from the pits, but then started to gain the positions again one by one.
Proton Competition #77 was leading the GTE category, but they were under big pressure from Spirit of Race #55. Aaron Scott made an amazing overtake on the Porsche round the outside into the Ascari chicane.
Panis Barthez Competition #16 and AT Racing #9 had a collision going into the Ascari chicane, where both cars got stuck in the gravel. It was #16 that made a crazy launch into the side of the number 9 car. Race control decided to give #16 a drive through for that action. The situation resulted in the first FCY of the day, while the cars were removed. DragonSpeed #21 had a trip through the gravel, avoiding the spinning cars.
Graff #40 stopped on the way out of the second chicane and thereby lost second place, while their sister car #39 was still leading the race. It was only one of the problems for the number 40 car, who stopped at least three times during the 4 hours. Richard Bradley told the TV reporter that there were electrical issues on the car, just like many other LMP2 cars have had. It means that the car cuts out suddenly, and then the driver has to go through a power recycle before they can power it up again.
Larbre Competition #50 with Fernando Rees came back strongly and overtook both Aston Martin cars, who had no speed at all during the first hours of the race.
Anders Fjordbach in the High Class Racing #49 quickly made it up from the 9th position and made an amazing overtaking on the Cetilar Villorba Corse #47 on the start-finish straight. One lap later the #47 decided to bounce back, and the two had a good battle throughout many laps.
When the first hour had been done, and everybody had done a pit stop, it was the DragonSpeed #21 in the lead, while the pole team Graff #39 was in second.
Tockwith Motorsports #34 had troubles with the generator on the car, and dived into the pits for a quick repair. Later in the race they had a trip through the Lesmo 1 gravel trap, and only avoided the barriers by a few centimeters. After that they could make it back on track and continue.
There was a heavy impact between United Autosports #2 and AT Racing #9, which send the black and orange #9 into the gravel once again. When #2 returned to the track, they collided with the Larbre Competition #50. The recovery of the #9 gave the second Full Course Caution. The contact gave #2 a drive through penalty.
One and a half hours into the race the colourful Oregon Team #10 had a high-speed off at the end of the start-finish straight, which send the Norma M30 hard into the barrier. Andres Mendes could bring the car back to the pits to the mechanics for repairs, and that incident gave the third Full Course Caution.
Eurointernational #11 and Panis Barthez Competition #16 had a close encounter through the first chicane, sending the latter closer to the gravel than they would like, but both cars could continue without damage.
Halfway through the race, the leading car in GTE, Spirit of Race Ferrari #55 had to drive into the garage with a defect engine, giving the lead to the JMW Motorsport Ferrari #66.
Cetilar Villorba Corse #47 was in troubles again one and a half hours before the finish, where the car had a short stop on the track. Luckily Andrea Bellichi managed to restart the car and continue.
With about an hour left of the race, we saw Anders Fjordbach in the High Class Racing #49 make a great overtaking on the former Audi Sport works driver Filipe Albuquerque in the United Autosports #32 and quickly put a lot of distance between the two cars.
TF Sport Aston Martin #90 picked up the pace through the race, and especially Nicki Thiim clocked laptimes as quick as the Ferraris.
Even though Larbre Competition #50 set the fastest lap in the GTE category, the luck wasn’t on their side. One hour before the flag they were hit by the Oregon Team #10, but both could continue, even when bits were flying off the cars.
M.Racing – YMR #18 overtook the Eurointernational #11 in a very good out-braking manoeuvre at the end of the start-finish straight, in a battle for second and third in LMP3. With half an hour left of the race, we saw Ultimate #17 overtake the #11, too.
Beechdean AMR #99 had picked up the pace like the other Aston Martin. With just under half an hour to go, they dived past the Spirit of Race #51 Ferrari in the fight for third place.
With less than 20 minutes to go, we saw penalties handed out to Eurointernational #11, Ultimate #17, G-Drive Racing #22, and Algarve Pro Racing# 25 for speeding under FCY. That gave a bit extra excitement in the closing stages of the race, and a few position changes. Although the penalty wasn’t enough for the G-Drive Racing #22 to lose the lead.
Only three minutes before the race finish, we saw DragonSpeed #21 dive past High Class Racing #49 for second position.
The end result in LMP3 was a double victory to the M.Racing – YMR with #19 ahead of #18. It gave the first victory in LMP3 worldwide for the Norma M30 chassis. Ultimate #17 made it home in third.
The GTE category was won by JMW Motorsport Ferrari #66 in their final race with their good, old Ferrari F458 Italia, which will be sent into retirement. From Le Mans onwards they will utilize a new F488 GTE, that they’ll bring to the ELMS, too. In second position we saw TF Sport Aston Martin #90, where Euan Hankey reduced the gap to only 10 seconds at the flag. Beechdean AMR #99 finished third with about 50 seconds down to Spirit of Race #51. One lap later we had Proton Competition #77 crossing the finish line, while Larbre Competition made it home in sixth, after a race full of problems.
G-Drive Racing #22, United Autosports #32, and High Class Racing #49 are the top 3 in the LMP2 Championship. LMP3 is led by Ultimate #17 ahead of M. Racing – YMR #18 and United Autosports #3 . TF Sport #90 still leads the GTE rankings ahead of JMW Motorsport #66 and Beechdean AMR #99.
Now the European Le Mans Series will have a break until July 23rd, where the third round will be run at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.