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European Le Mans Series

Deletraz Fastest in Opening Barcelona Practice

Louis Deletraz sets the pace in Barcelona FP1; Ferrari dominates LMGT3…

Photo: MPS Agency

Louis Deletraz set the pace in the first Free Practice session ahead of the European Le Mans Series season opener in Barcelona.

The Swiss driver steered the No. 14 AO by TF Oreca 07 Gibson to a best lap of 1:28.821 in the 90-minute session on Friday, outpacing Algarve Pro Racing driver Alex Lynn by 0.232 seconds.

James Allen, who was Lynn’s teammate at APR last year but switched to Duqueine over the winter, completed the top three behind the wheel of the No. 30 Oreca.

Reshad de Gerus slotted into fourth for IDEC Sport, while Ben Hanley rounded out the overall top five at the wheel of the No. 22 United Autosports entry.

Inter Europol Competition driver Tom Dillmann picked up sixth ahead of the second United entry of Paul di Resta and Inter Europol’s sister Oreca piloted by Luca Ghiotto.

Ritomo Miyata came ninth at the wheel of the No. 37 Cool Racing Oreca, with Arthur Leclerc completing the top ten after also leading the Prologue earlier in the week aboard the No. 65 Panis Racing entry.

The best LMP2 Pro-Am entry ended the session in eleventh overall, courtesy of the No. 21 United Autosports Oreca driven by Oliver Jarvis.

Manuel Espirito Santo set the pace in the LMP3 class by reeling off a 1:35.045 in the No. 17 Cool Racing Ligier JS P320 Nissan.

In the process, he led RLR M Sport ‘s No. 15 Ligier of Gael Julien by 0.558 seconds, while Gillian Henrion came third for Team Virage.

Phil Keen was at the head of a Ferrari-dominated LMGT3 class in first practice, with the JMW Motorsport driver taking the No. 66 Ferrari 296 GT3 to a best lap of 1:40.826.

Cars from the Prancing Horse locked out the top five at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with Daniel Serra second for Kessel Racing ahead of Spirit of Race’s Matt Griffin and Emmanuel Collard and Davide Rigon fourth and fifth for AF Corse and GR Racing, respectively.

The session ran largely uninterrupted, except for a late red flag triggered by the No. 25 Algarve Pro Oreca of Matthias Kaiser at Turn 4, which brought the session to a premature end.

The second Free Practice session for the 4 Hours of Barcelona takes place Saturday at 10:10 a.m. CEST (4:10 a.m. EDT).

RESULTS: Free Practice 1

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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