Enjoyable Saturday race at Le Mans

The second Road to Le Mans race of the week, which counts towards the Michelin Le Mans Cup 2019, was run on Saturday morning at Circuit de la Sarthe.

Lanan Racing #25 with Michael Benham and Duncan Tappy had grabbed Pole Position ahead of DKR Engineering #3 with Francois Kirmann and Laurents Hörr, and RLR MSport #15 with Freddie Hunt and Martin Vedel Mortensen in third.

The GT3 category had Mikkel Mac on Pole Position together with Fabien Lavergne in the Luzich Racing Ferrari #71, with Kessel Racing #8 driven by Sergio Pianezzola and Giacomo Piccini, plus SPS Automotive Performance Mercedes #40 with Valentin Pierburg and Tom Onslow-Cole on the next positions.

CD Sport #30 & Scuderia Villorba Corse Mercedes #7
Photo: JJ Media

There was a lot of panic at the start.

Freddie Hunt was pushed wide in Turn 1 the RLR MSport #15, bouncing over the gravel and heading towards several cars at the Dunlop Chicane. Luckily nobody hit him, but Racing Experience #11 had to avoid and ended up spinning, so Nicolas Melin was park at a 90 degrees angle.

Kessel Racing Ferrari #8 had grabbed the GT3 lead even before the first of the chicanes on the Mulsanne straight – with both DKR Engineering #5 and RLR MSport #15 running straight through that particular chicane.

The top speeds on the LMP3 and GT3 cars were almost equal, so it made a very mixed field, with two or three cars wide battling down the long straights.

SPS Automotive Performance Mercedes #40
Photo: JJ Media

Racing Experience #11 had a bad first lap, since they also scraped the barrier at Arnage, ultimately making them retire from the race.

DKR Engineering #3 had grabbed the lead of the race during the first lap.

DKR Engineering #5 was in trouble again at the first chicane on the Mulsanne straight, on the second lap, when Marcello Marateotto cut in right in front of Michael Markussen in KEO Racing #43. That resulted in a puncture for #5, while #43 could continue.

CD Sport #30 took the lead in LMP3 at the start of the third lap – and only a few corners we had both Lanan Racing #25 and DKR Engineering #3 going off the track.

All the debris from #5 resulted in a Slow Zone down the Mulsanne straight, so the marshals could clear it up.

Luzich Racing #71
Photo: JJ Media

Luzich Racing Ferrari #71 was back in front of GT3, on an overall eighth position.

United Autosports #27 had a wild moment at the Ford Chicane, where they lost the rear of the car, sliding across the track.

Inter Europol Competition #13 got stuck in the gravel at the Dunlop Chicane, when Phillippe Bourgois had a spin on his own. He was craned back on track, but there was a Slow Zone while that work was happening.

Hunt in the RLR MSport #15 made up for his earlier mistakes, overtaking Graff #39 in a nice outbraking manoeuvre into the second Mulsanne chicane, making it into fourth in LMP3.

Spirit of Race Ferrari #52 got a 30-second Stop & Go penalty for speeding in a Slow Zone.

RLR MSport #15
Photo: JJ Media

Lanan Racing #25 and DKR Engineering #3 chose to pit after 25 minutes of racing, to do their mandatory driver change.

CD Sport #30 pitted one lap later, with Kevin Bole-Besançon handing over to Jacques Wolff. The returned to the track, still in the lead of the race.

Laurents Hörr in #3 overtook Duncan Tappy in #25 around the outside, in the Indianapolis corner, in a very impressive manoeuvre.

But it didn’t last long before both #3 and #25 had caught the leading #30 and passed him at the first opportunity down the Mulsanne straight.

RLR MSport #14 with Mark Mayall had a solo spin by the Dunlop Bridge, but was able to rejoin under his own steam.

CD Sport #60
Photo: JJ Media

The day got even worse for CD Sport #30, when they were handed a 6-second Stop & Go penalty due to their pitstop being too short. Same penalty was applied to CD Sport #60, Monza Garage #69 and Krypton Motorsport Mercedes #35.

CD Sport #60 with Michael Jensen and Nick Adcock had a solo spin by the Dunlop Chicane. That resulted in a Slow Zone, since they weren’t able to rejoin the race.

Colin Noble in the Nielsen Racing #2 managed to outbrake Martin Vedel Mortensen in the RLR MSport #15 going into the second Mulsanne chicane, in the fight for fifth.

#15 also had to give up a place to KEO Racing #43 with Joakim Frid,in a slipstream battle.

Grainmarket Racing #20 had to park the car two laps before the end with mechanical issues.

KEO Racing #43 had a spin by the Dunlop Bridge, which send the Swedish driver down the field. The stewards meant that he was the reason for contact with Graff #72, which added another 35 seconds to their race time.

CD Sport #30 finished the race in the gravel. So from leading the race, to getting a penalty, to finishing in the gravel… not good.

DKR Engineering #3
Photo: JJ Media

DKR Engineering #3 with Francois Kirmann and Laurents Hörr won the race ahead of Lanan Racing #25 with Michael Benham and Duncan Tappy, and Graff #39 with Nicolas Schatz and Adrien Chila finishing third.

Mikkel Mac and Fabien Lavergne in Luzich Racing #71 also won the second race of the week in the GT3 category, ahead of Beechdean AMR #99 with Ross Gunn and Andrew Howard, and SPS Automotive Performance Mercedes #40 in third with Valentin Pierburg and Tom Onslow-Cole.

RLR MSport #15 with Martin Vedel Mortensen and Freddie Hunt ended up finishing eighth amongst the LMP3 cars.

The results from the weekend meant that Lanan Racing #25 still leads the LMP3 Champiosnhip, but DKR Engineering #3 has moved a handful of point closer to them. Nielsen Racing #2 are still in third, but Graff #39 are rushing towards them.

Luzich Racing Ferrari #71 has grabbed the lead in GT3 ahead of Kessel Racing Ferrari #8, who had a bad weekend with only a 10th and 4th finishing position in the two races. Spirit of Race Ferrari #51 has moved past Beechdean AMR #99 in their fight for third.

The next round of the Michelin Le Mans Cup 2019 is run on 20 July at Circuit de Catalunya in Spain.

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