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European Le Mans Series

Inter Europol Win Drama-Filled 4H Le Castellet

Inter Europol Competition take first overall European Le Mans Series victory after dramatic final hour at Le Castellet…

Photo: MPS Agency

Inter Europol Competition claimed its first overall victory in the European Le Mans Series by winning the 4 Hours of Le Castellet, but saw a potential 1-2 finish fall away after late drama for Clement Novalak.

Sebastian Alvarez, Vlad Lomko and Tom Dillmann finished 14.004 seconds ahead of the No. 47 Cool Racing Oreca 07 Gibson of Paul-Loup Chatin, Frederik Vesti and Alex Garcia.

The Swiss squad crossed the line in third place but were promoted after the No. 28 IDEC Sport Oreca 0f Paul Lafargue, Reshad de Gerus and Job van Uitert received a ten-second penalty for zigzagging and blocking another car.

That moment came when Van Uitert defended the race lead in a battle with Dillmann at the restart for a Full Course Yellow that had fired the starting pistol on a dramatic final hour at Le Castellet.

Cool Racing initially looked in strong contention to claim a second consecutive race victory with its No. 37 car until Malthe Jakobsen suddenly slowed and came to a halt on track with 43 minutes to go.

This promoted Van Uitert to the lead, only to be passed by Dillmann and even drop to fourth when the final round of stops shook up the LMP2 order.

Van Uitert fell behind the No. 22 United Autosports Oreca of Ben Hanley, while the entire top three dropped behind the No. 34 Inter Europol Oreca of Clement Novalak as the Frenchman opted not to pit.

Novalak remained in the lead until 20 minutes remaining, when the No. 34 car pulled off to the side on the start-finish straight with a reported gearbox problem.

This promoted Dillmann back to first place, who remained there to claim Inter Europol’s first LMP2 victory in the ELMS.

In the process, it added to previously LMP2 wins obtained in the FIA World Endurance Championship (through last year’s class win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans) as well as the Asian Le Mans Series.

The penalty for IDEC allowed Jonny Edgar, Louis Deletraz and Robert Kubica to complete the overall podium for AO by TF, with the No. 28 car dropping to fourth.

United Autosports rounded out the overall top five with the No. 22 car of Hanley, Filip Ugran and Marino Sato.

Richard Mille by TDS took the LMP2 Pro-Am class win with the No. 29 Oreca driven by Rodrigo Sales, Gregoire Saucy and Mathias Beche, ahead of the No. 77 Proton Competition entry of Giorgio Roda, Rene Binder and Bent Viscaal.

RLR M Sport, Spirit of Race Take Class Wins

An extended final stint gave RLR M Sport victory in LMP3, while Spirit of Race ended a lengthy win drought by coming out on top in LMGT3.

Gael Julien completed a 29-lap run to the flag aboard the No. 15 Ligier JS P320 Nissan he shares with Michael Jensen and Nick Adcock to win.

This allowed the British squad to complete one stop less than most of its rivals and meant Julien crossed the line 3.716 seconds ahead of the No. 4 DKR Engineering Duqueine D08 Nissan of Wyatt Brichacek, Alexander Mattschull and Belen Garcia.

Ultimate finished third with the No. 35 Ligier of Mathieu Lahaye, Jean-Baptiste Lahaye and Eric Trouillet.

Spirit of Race, meanwhile, ended a multi-year win drought by winning LMGT3, while the Iron Dames were again denied victory despite dominating much of the race.

David Perel, sharing the No. 55 Ferrari 296 GT3 with Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin, held off the No. 63 Iron Lynx Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 of Andrea Caldarelli to win by 4.903 seconds after four hours of racing.

As a result, the Italian squad brought an end to a winless streak of 1029 days, dating back to the 2021 4 Hours of Monza. Perel and Cameron took the GTE class victory at that event alongside current Ferrari Hypercar driver Alessandro Pier Guidi.

The win came despite an early dominant run from the No. 85 Iron Dames Porsche 911 GT3 R of Sarah Bovy, Rahel Frey and Michelle Gatting, which led the class from pole and held a strong lead until the final round of stops.

There, both Perel and Caldarelli vaulted to the front after spending less time in the pits, while Gatting even dropped to fifth behind GR Racing and Racing Spirit of Leman.

While GR Racing’s No. 86 Ferrari was eliminated from contention through a late drivethrough penalty for “anticipating the end” of the last Full Course Yellow, Gatting was unable to pass Valentin Hasse-Clot’s No. 59 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Evo to claim the final stop of the podium.

Instead, Hasse-Clot, Casper Stevenson and Derek DeBoer finished third, with the Iron Dames fourth and GR Racing fifth.

RESULTS: 4 Hours of Le Castellet

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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