ELMS qualifying Paul Ricard

The qualifying on Saturday for the opening race of European Le Mans Series was run under beautiful, blue sky at Circuit Paul Ricard.

It started with the nine GT cars on the track, where the teams could decide which driver they wanted to put in the car. Unsurprisingly they chose their fastest drivers.

Proton Competition Porsche #88 and their teammates in Dempsey-Proton Racing #77 were the first two to set a fast time, while Luzich Racing #51 was the best Ferrari in P3 – just ahead of Kessel Racing Ferrari #83, with Michelle Gatting behind the wheel.

#51 with Alessandro Pier Guidi opted to put new tires on and went after Pole Position. As did Dempsey-Proton Racing #77.

It gave both teams an extra attempt to snatch Pole Position.

#51 initially set the quickest time, but Matteo Cairoli in Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #77 drove two good sector times and took Pole Position in front of Alessandro Pier Guidi in Luzich Racing Ferrari #51 and Thomas Preining in Proton Competition Porsche #88.

Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #77
Photo: JJ Media

Afterwards it was ten minutes qualifying for the LMP3 cars.

Christian England in United Autosports #3 pushed a bit too much on his first lap, which resulted in a spin.

It was the second UA #2 that was the fastest car after everyone set their first laptime.

Mikkel Jensen in Eurointernational #11 did an amazing lap in the new Ligier JS P3, that the team got delivered last night, and was in P1 – marginally better than the other Normas.

But both Ultimate #17 and Oregon Team #10 turned up the speed and grabbed the first two positions in the class. The two teams fought equally hard and swapped place everytime they finished a lap.

After a wild quali, Oregon Team #10 with Damiano Fioravanti got Pole ahead of Ultimate #17 with Mathieu Lahaye and M.Racing #19 with Lucas Legeret.

Oregon Team #10
Photo: JJ Media

Last but not least, it was the 18 LMP2 cars’ turn to do their qualifying.

IDEC Sport #28 set the fastest time but got matched by DragonSpeed #21, and also Cool Racing #37.

G-Drive Racing #26 would love to get into the mix and drove the fastest laptime with three minutes left on the clock.

Inter Europol Competition #34 had a small detour in their brand new Ligier JSP217 with Leo Roussel behind the wheel.

United Autosports #22 and #23 also tried to get into top five, but Paul Di Resta and Alex Brundle in the Ligier cars found it hard to match the ORECA cars’ speed.

It was G-Drive Racing #26 with Norman Nato behind the wheel, that grabbed Pole Position ahead of IDEC Sport #28 with Paul Loup Chatin. Alex Bundle drove a fantastic last flying lap and would start the race from P3, in United Autosports #32.

G-Drive Racing #26
Photo: JJ Media

That was the end for the exciting qualifying sessions. Now the teams can prepare the cars for tomorrow’s race, which will start at 12.30 CET.

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