Exciting qualifying at Monza

The qualifying of the second European Le Mans Series race was run at overcast but dry Autodromo Nazionale di Monza in Italy.

The system for qualifying in ELMS is a totally classic version, with one driver per car, and ten minutes for the various categories to set the times.

First it was the eight GTE cars’ turn.

Proton Competition Porsche #88 unfortunately won’t compete this time, but it hasn’t been possible to get a comment from the team about the reason why they only run with #77 this weekend.

Team Project 1 Porsche #56 was the first to set a laptime.

Several teams have, however, their times deleted due to track limits in Turn 7, which is also known as Lesmo 2. One of the drivers whose a couple of laptimes were deleted was Michelle Gatting, who got the honour to qualify Kessel Racing Ferrari #83.

Matteo Cairoli in Dempsey – Proton Racing Porsche #77 got his time deleted twice before finally setting a fantastic Pole time, ahead of Team Project 1 with Jörg Bergmeister and Matt Griffin in Spirit of Race Ferrari #55.

There was, however, also success ballast to be taken into consideration in the GTE class, so Luzich Racing Ferrari #51 had 30 kg extra weight from the victory in Paul Ricard, Kessel Racing #83 20kg and Dempsey – Proton Racing Porsche #77 with 10 extra kg. So it could be the explanation on why #51 only qualified P6 and #83 in P8. But it’s even more impressive that #77 took Pole Position with ten extra kilos.

Dempsey – Proton Racing Porsche #77
Photo: JJ Media

The cloud became denser when the 14 LMP3 cars came out for their ten minutes qualifying.

There were also penalties for a number of cars for track limits, but M Racing #19 was the fastest car to drive a flawless lap, followed by Nielsen Racing #7 og Ultimate #17.

But there were more who were determined to get Pole, so the laptimes kept falling. Although it still ended up being Lucas Legeret in M Racing Norma #19 on Pole Position, ahead of Nielsen Racing Norma #7 with Colin Noble and Damiano Fioravanti in Oregon Team Norma #10. Can you see a trend? It was actually Norma 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, before the remaining Ligier cars. United Autosports #2 with Wayne Boyd was the quickest Ligier JS P3 in P6.

Mikkel Jensen and the Eurointernational team skipped the quali so they didn’t set any time at all.

M Racing #19
Photo: JJ Media

The 19 cars LMP2 field was the last one to qualify. This time the 18 usual cars got a company in the shape of Cetilar Racing Villorba Corse #47, as a warm-up to their 24 hours race at Le Mans.

Filipe Albuquerque did a common driving error in Turn 4, where he braked a little too late in United Autosports #22, and had to use the run-off area, luckily without hitting anyone.

Cool Racing #37 was the first to set a fast laptime could keep it, in contrast to IDEC Sport #27, Inter Europol Competition #34 and Graff #39 amongst others.

But the teams kept pushing as they hoped for the ultimate flying lap. Especially Norman Nato.

The French “reserve” team at G-Drive Racing #26 was on a flying lap, which probably would be good enough for Pole Position – if Nicolas Jamin in Duqueine Engineering #30 didn’t go off track in the exit of the Variante Ascari chicane, full on. Luckily, he could get out of the car by himself, and the Tecpro barrier looked to have withstood the impact, so the car only lost its right front suspension and front nose.

Cool Racing #37
Photo: JJ Media

But the qualifying didn’t get restarted, since there were only 15 seconds left on the clock.

So Cool Racing #37 with Nicolas Lapierre took Pole Position, ahead of G-Drive Racing #26 with Norman Nato and Paul Loup Chatin in IDEC Sport #28.

Now the teams have nearly 24 hours to get the car ready for the race, which will start Sunday at 12.00 CET.

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