IDEC Sport took their its first European Le Mans Series victory since October 2019 by winning a dramatic 4 Hours of Monza.
The No. 28 Oreca 07 Gibson of Paul Loup Chatin, Patrick Pilet and Paul Lafarque survived a 20-second penalty to take their first win in nearly three years.
The French squad fought their way to the front after qualifying ninth, first moving into the lead when Pilet emerged from the pits ahead of Cool Racing’s Nicolas Lapierre during a round of scheduled stops.
Cool’s No. 37 Oreca was an early leader thanks to a strong opening stint from Niklas Kruetten before it was caught by the No. 9 Prema Oreca driven by Ferdinand Habsburg.
The Italian squad would soon lose the lead again when a slower stop meant that Lorenzo Colombo lost time in the pits, which promoted Lapierre briefly back to the lead before Pilet jumped ahead.
The French squad would drop back behind Prema thanks to a charging drive from Colombo, who made his way back up past Lapierre before handing over to Deletraz, who exited the pits in front of IDEC.
Paul Loup Chatin, now installed into the No. 28 car, subsequently hunted down and passed Deletraz at the first chicane shortly before both IDEC and Cool Racing were given 20-second time penalties for a full course yellow infringement.
Chatin, however, then put in a strong stint to extend his advantage to an extent where he was able to pit, serve his penalty and retain the lead of the race.
From there, the Frenchman controlled the gap and came home to take the squad’s first win since it took the 2019 championship with a victory at Portimao.
Panis Racing’s No. 65 Oreca of Job van Uitert, Julien Canal and Nicolas Jamin, which led the race on the opening lap, finished second.
Prema recovered from a ten-second penalty for a pit stop infringement to complete the podium, with Deletraz passing the No. 21 Muehlner Motorsport Oreca of Thomas Laurent, Ugo de Wilde and Matthias Kaiser in the closing minutes.
United Autosports finished fifth, while Nielsen Racing took LMP2 Pro/Am honors.
LMP3 saw Inter Europol Competition claim class victory, meanwhile.
Inter Europol Competition’s No. 13 Ligier JS P320 Nissan, driven by Nico Pino, Guilherme Oliveira and Charles Crews took the LMP3 class win after a strong run in a drama-filled class.
The Polish-flagged squad started in second place but Crews captured the lead on the opening lap.
Even as the lead fluctuated between various teams, the No. 13 car remained in contention throughout and was often at the head of the class.
In the latter half of the race, United Autosport’s No. 2 Ligier of Bailey Voisin, Josh Caygill and Finn Gehrsitz moved to the head of the field and was leading with roughly fifteen minutes remaining when contact with Eurointernational’s Glenn van Berlo left Gehrsitz facing the wrong way on the exit of Variante del Rettifilio.
Van Berlo was subsequently handed a drive through penalty for the incident, but not before Oliveira retook the lead of the class and went on to victory.
360 Racing’s No. 6 Ligier driven by Terrence Woodward, Ross Kaiser and Mark Richards finished second, while Eurointernational’s No. 11 Ligier of Max Koebolt and Jerome de Sadeleer completed the podium.
Van Berlo, Xavier Lloveras and Adrian Chile were ultimately not classified after the Dutchman attempted to take his penalty on the final lap, which led to them not finishing.
This moved the No. 2 United Autosports Ligier back up to fifth place in class, with RLR Sport fourth.
Proton on Top in GTE After Iron Lynx Disqualification
Proton Competition won the GTE class after Iron Lynx, which crossed the line first, were disqualified.
The No. 60 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo of Davide Rigon, Matteo Cressoni and Claudio Schiavoni looked set for victory after capturing the lead of the race deep within the final hour.
The yellow Ferrari spent the majority of the races outside the podium places with Schiavoni and later Cressoni completing their driving time, but began to more forward once factory driver Rigon was installed behind the wheel.
The Italian charged up the field, fighting through a massive five-car scrap for second place, which was initially won by the No. 83 Ferrari of Rahel Frey before Frey lost out to Rigon lost out not much later.
From there, only the No. 77 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Christian Ried, Gianmaria Bruni and Lorenzo Ferrari remained out front.
Rigon was ultimately able to vault ahead of Ferrari during the final round of stops when the No. 60 car had to be stationary a few seconds shorter than its rival.
However, the Ferrari was disqualified after the race, promoting the Porsche to the class lead.
The No. 57 Kessel Racing Ferrari of Takeshi Kimura, Mikkel Jensen and Frederik Schandorff finished with Absolute Racing third.
RESULTS: 4 Hours of Monza