Franco Colapinto took G-Drive Racing’s third pole of the 2021 European Le Mans Series season in qualifying for Sunday’s four-hour race at Monza.
The 18-year-old Argentine driver rose to the top of the 18-car LMP2 order with just under two and a half minutes left in the 10-minute session, moving ahead of Team WRT’s Louis Deletraz who had set the early pace.
Colapinto initially set a time of 1:37.646 but shaved this down to a 1:37.469 on his final tour to secure pole on board the No. 26 Aurus-badged Oreca run by Algarve Pro Racing.
Colapinto’s co-driver Nyck de Vries claimed G-Drive’s other poles at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya and Paul Ricard earlier this year. Mikkel Jensen is substituting for de Vries at Monza due the Dutchman’s clashing Formula E commitments this weekend.
United Autosports driver Jonathan Aberdein made a late improvement to snatch a front-row start away from Deletraz.
Aberdein’s 1:37.893 attempt came up 0.424 seconds shy of Colapinto’s pole figure, but still undercut the early Deletraz benchmark by a tenth of a second.
Deletraz settled for third in the championship-leading No. 41 WRT Oreca, which has yet to take a pole so far in 2021 despite winning two races in Spain and Austria.
Ben Hanley jumped to fourth overall right at the end of qualifying with a time of 1:38.058 that also put the DragonSpeed Oreca on pole in the LMP2 Pro-Am classification.
Hanley moved ahead of Logan Sargeant, who is back in the TF Sport-prepared Racing Team Turkey Oreca this weekend as a sub for Harry Tincknell. The Mazda DPi driver present at the New York City ePrix on reserve driver duties for Audi.
Ferdinand Habsburg ran sixth for Algarve Pro Racing, ahead of Giedo van der Garde in Racing Team Nederland’s guesting Oreca from the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Panis Racing’s James Allen, Duqueine Team’s Rene Binder and Cool Racing’s Nicolas Lapierre completed the top ten.
In LMP3, Laurents Hoerr claimed his third consecutive class pole for the DKR Engineering team.
Hoerr’s 1:43.127 effort in the No. 14 Duqueine D08 Nissan was enough to take pole by 0.053 seconds from Ugo de Wilde in the No. 13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier JS P320 Nissan.
De Wilde set the fastest second sector in the class but fell marginally short of Hoerr over the course of a whole lap.
Garett Grist was third for Team Virage, beating Graff driver David Droux.
Wayne Boyd, who was recently announced in United Autosports’ 24 Hours of Le Mans lineup, qualified fifth in the No. 2 United-run Ligier.
Alessandro Pier Guidi claimed pole in the GTE category for Spirit of Race, beating Alessio Rovera to the top spot by 0.051 seconds.
The 2017 FIA World Endurance GT champion logged a 1:46.608 to take the top spot in the Ferrari 488 GTE Evo that he will share with Duncan Cameron and David Perel.
Pier Guidi is filling in for Matt Griffin, who is absent this weekend for personal reasons.
Rovera took second in the No. 88 AF Corse Ferrari, while Ross Gunn placed third in the TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GTE.
The top-six cars were covered by less than three-tenths of a second in a tight GTE qualifying that saw Porsche drivers Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz take fourth and fifth, ahead of Paolo Ruberti in the best of the Iron Lynx Ferraris.