Close qualifying for ELMS

The qualifying for European Le Mans Series race at Silverstone was a close affair.

Firstly, the GTE cars got a ten-minute session.

The special thing about Silverstone is that the ELMS cars are in the old pitlane, while the qualifying exit was from the new pitlane. It meant that the drivers only had half a lap before they were on a new flying lap.

Proton Competition #88 was the fastest car, after all the drivers had set their first laptimes.

Nicklas Nielsen got the honour to drive the Luzich Racing Ferrari #51, while Michelle Gatting could only watch as Rahel Frey qualified Kessel Racing Ferrari #83.

Proton Competition Porsche #88
Photo: JJ Media

All the cars went in to put on new tires halfway into the quali, and after that the drivers would get another attempt.

It only made Preining drive even faster, and he took Pole Position (with Ricardo Sanchez and Gian Luca Giraudi) with almost a second to Kessel Racing Ferrari #60 with Giacomo Piccini, Sergio Pianezzola and Nicola Cadei, with Spirit of Race Ferrari #55 with Matt Griffin, Duncan Cameron and Andrew Scott was P3. P2 to P5 was within half a second.

Luzich Racing Ferrari #51 with Nicklas Nielsen, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Fabien Lavergne will start the race from P5, while Michelle Gatting, Manuela Gostner and Rahel Frey will start in P6.

The LMP3 qualifying started shortly afterwards, and Mikkel Jensen and Christian Stubbe Olsen drove in their respective cars  – Eurointernational #11 og RLR MSport #15.

M Racing #19
Photo: JJ Media

After all the drivers had done their first flying lap, it went really well for the Danes – Jensen in P2 and Olsen in P5. But there were a few improvements from others on the second flying lap.

Oregon Team #10 was the fastest car after the first attempt, and they kept improving the laptimes. Ultimate #17 overtook the first position with two minutes left, but 20 seconds before the end of qualifying, M Racing #19 jumped the line and finished first.

M Racing #19 with Yann Ehrlacher, Lucas Legeret and Laurent Millara took Pole Position, ahead of Ultimate #17 with Matthieu Lahaye, Jean-Baptiste Lahaye and Francois Heriau, and Oregon Team #10 with Damiano Fioravanti, Gustas Grinbergas, and Lorenzo Bontempelli in P3.

Eurointernational #11 with Jens Petersen and Mikkel Jensen will start the race from P4, 0,313 second from Pole, while Christian Stubbe Olsen, Martin Vedel Mortensen and Martin Rich in RLR MSport #15 will start tenth amongst the LMP3 cars.

The LMP2 class was back in full line-up again, after Carlin had built up a Cetilar Racing Dallara car and called Harrison Newey to substitute the injured Jack Manchester.

DragonSpeed #21
Photo: JJ Media

Anders Fjordbach had a spin with High Class Racing #20 on his first flying lap, but he could quickly continue.

United Autosports #22 was the fastest of all, after the first flyling lap, but it was extremely close at the top. DragonSpeed #21 and IDEC Sport #28 were not far behind to snatch the best laptime.

IDEC Sport #27 had a solo spin, and they were lucky not to get hit by others, who avoided the car by passing it from the left and right.

Just as the chequered flag came out, DragonSpeed #21 with Ben Hanley, Henrik Hedman and James Allen jumped up to P1, with Hanley behind the wheel. United Autosports #22 with Phil Hanson and Filipe Albuquerque had to be happy with P2, which was the first time this weekend where they weren’t in P1.

IDEC Sport #28 with Paul Loup Chatin, Paul Lafargue and Memo Rojas was third, while High Class Racing #20 and Anders Fjordbach and Dennis Andersen qualified in P13.

Now the teams have a couple of hours before the cars line up on the starting grid, where they will be battling for four hours.

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