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Graff Survives Late-Race Penalty to Win 4H Spa

Graff scores first ELMS win of season in 4H Spa…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Graff has taken its first overall European Le Mans Series victory in Sunday’s Four Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, with Richard Bradley surviving a last-lap drive-through penalty to cross the line in first.

Bradley crossed the line just 0.581 seconds over Ryo Hirakawa, having lost an almost 20-second lead when he served a penalty for an illegal overtake on the SMP Racing Dallara P217 Gibson earlier in the race.

It is the first win for the French team in LMP2 competition and the No. 40 Oreca 07 Gibson that Bradley shares with Gustavo Yacaman and James Allen. 

Hirakawa came home second in his championship-leading G-Drive Racing Oreca while the SMP Dallara that won last time out at Circuit Paul Ricard completed the podium. 

United Autosports’ Filipe Albuquerque finished fourth in the highest-placed Ligier JS P217 Gibson, meanwhile.

AT Racing led the majority of the race in the LMP3 class with its Ligier JS P3 Nissan of Alexander Talkanitsa Sr., Alexander Talkanitsa Jr. and Mikkel Jensen, which took top class honors.

David Droux’s Duqueine Engineering Norma M30 Nissan was second and around four seconds ahead of the points-leading No. 2 United Autosports Ligier.

Spirit of Race led a Ferrari 488 GTE 1-2 in the GTE ranks with the first win of the season for the No. 51 car driven by Gianluca Roda, Rino Mastronardi and Andrea Bertolini.

It is the third straight win for the AF Corse-run squad which was victorious in the previous two races with its No. 55 car, which finished fourth in class at Spa.

The four-hour race saw several incidents which led to full course yellow and safety car periods, many of which were caused by LMP3 drivers. 

One of the most noteworthy incidents involved the Algarve Pro Racing Ligier which hit a tire barrier at high speed and turned onto its roof, although Andrea Roda was unharmed by the impact.

RESULTS: 4H Spa-Francorchamps

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist focusing on European series for Sportscar365. Kilshaw was the founder of WorldSportsCar.co.uk and is a member of the Autosport Academy. Contact Jake

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. daedalus

    September 24, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    crazy race, some LMP2s doing there fuel splash early made it hard to know who was really leading and the finish could not have been closer. They should not have waited so long to apply the penalty to the 40 cars but it did produce a tight finish. The LMP3 race was crazy and GTE was very close all race long. Can’t wait to watch the race at portiamo.

    • Steven

      September 24, 2017 at 1:39 pm

      The result is still unofficial.

      the #40 was still under investigation for a pitstop violation. The drive-thru was for gaining an advantage by shortcutting the track.

      but a fantastic race none the less, ELMS just has one of the best formula’s for endurance racing.

  2. DanO

    September 24, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    Again, since the original comment was removed. Gianluca Roda was not driving this weekend, it was Giorgio.

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