G-Drive Racing’s Jean-Eric Vergne, Andrea Pizzitola and Roman Rusinov extended their European Le Mans Series points lead with victory in round three at the Red Bull Ring.
The TDS-run Oreca 07 Gibson needed to recover from an early drive-through penalty that dropped it down the order after Rusinov jumped the start.
A Pizzitola triple-stint, a second-hour safety car period and a Vergne anchor leg brought the No. 26 crew back into contention and led to it clinching a second successive ELMS win.
Vergne took the lead with around 30 minutes of the four-hour contest to go when long-time leader Nelson Panciatici pitted the No. 29 Duqueine Engineering Oreca, but still required a splash of fuel to make it to the end.
G-Drive called its car in with 10 minutes remaining, but the brevity of the service meant recently-crowned Formula E champion Vergne managed to keep his lead, with Panciatici just under 20 seconds behind.
That gap held station until the chequered flag, with Panciatici unable to mount a challenge because of rear pressure from Olivier Pla in the No. 24 Racing Engineering Oreca.
Pla moved into the top three after Paul-Loup Chatin pitted the IDEC Sport Oreca with a quarter of an hour remaining, before latching onto the Duqueine car’s tail.
The Frenchman attempted a bold move on the outside of Panciatici into the Remus hairpin with eight minutes to go, but couldn’t find a way past.
Half a minute back in fourth was the No. 22 Ligier JS P217 Gibson entered by United Autosports, while the pole-sitting IDEC car emerged from its late splash for fuel in fifth.
DragonSpeed took sixth and APR Rebellion Racing seventh, as Orecas filled out six of the top seven spots in LMP2, while the best-placed Dallara P217 Gibson was the SMP Racing machine in eighth.
RLR Dominates LMP3; Proton Takes GTE
British outfit RLR Msport claimed victory in the LMP3 class as Rob Garofall, John Farano and Job van Uitert chalked up their second win of the campaign.
The RLR team led most of the contest with its Ligier JS P3 Nissan and only ceded its position during the pit cycles.
Garofall crossed the line 5.092 seconds ahead of a hard-charging Alex Kapadia, who shared the Ecurie Ecosse/Nielsen Ligier with Colin Noble and Christian Stubbe Olsen.
The result means RLR leapfrogs the No. 11 Eurointernational crew, which finished seventh, to lead the LMP3 standings with three rounds remaining.
In LMGTE, the No. 88 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR of Matteo Cairoli, Giorgio Roda and Gianluca Roda triumphed after taking the lead in the early exchanges.
Giorgio Roda dispatched pole-sitter Liam Griffin’s JMW Motorsport Ferrari 488 GTE at the start opening up an early 10-second advantage that grew and shrunk through the five full course yellows and single safety car spell.
Porsche Young Professional Cairoli came in to anchor the final stint and successfully managed an eight-second gap back to Matt Griffin in the Spirit of Race Ferrari, to earn Porsche’s first win of the season.
Ebimotors rounded out the top three with its Porsche, while the JMW Ferrari retired in the second hour with mechanical issues.
RESULTS: 4H Red Bull Ring