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European Le Mans Series

Paul Ricard Weekend Notebook

Sportscar365’s weekend notebook from Paul Ricard…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

***For the championship’s French round, there are 12 teams and 35 drivers racing under the Tricolore, including Red Bull Ring winners Thiriet by TDS Racing and 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP2 class winner Nicolas Lapierre, among others.

***There have been some Balance of Performance changes to the GTE class this weekend. The Ferrari F458 Italia has had a 5kg weight increase to 1240kg, while the Porsche 911 RSR and Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE weights remain unchanged at 1205kg and 1230kg, respectively.

***In further BoP adjustments, all three GTE cars have had a 5-liter reduction in fuel tank size. This puts the Porsche at 90 liters, Ferrari at 85 liters and Aston Martin at 95 liters.

***LMP3 cars will make two pit stops, rather than the usual three, and the reference time is one minute, 45 seconds.

***Henrik Hedman topped the time sheets in Friday morning’s Bronze Driver Collective Test in the No. 21 DragonSpeed Oreca 05 Nissan, while Francois Heriau for Ultimate and Christian Ried for Proton Competition were the respective LMP3 and GTE class leaders.

***A crash for Pu Jun Jin in the Bronze Test took the Eurasia Motorsport Oreca 05 Nissan out of Friday’s running. The car made it back on track for Free Practice 2 on Saturday morning, but Pu Jun Jin will not take any further part in the Paul Ricard round, resulting in Nico Pieter De Bruijn and Tristan Gommendy entering the race as a two-driver lineup.

***Tristan Gommendy has been awarded a drive-through penalty to be served at some point during the race. The Eurasia Motorsport driver caused a collision with the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia during Free Practice 2.

***The No. 3 United Autosports car missed qualifying after engine troubles in FP2. “Car 3 had issues with a loss of power so very minimal running as the team work out what the issue is,” the team explained on Twitter during the FP2 session.

***However, Mark Patterson, Matt Bell and Wayne Boyd are expected to make the race start, albeit with a two-minute penalty in the first part of the race. “She’s alive again!!!” Bell posted on Instagram on Saturday evening. “Massive thanks to our #Car3 @unitedautosports guys, it’s been a long hard day getting her working again. Hope we can reward their efforts tomorrow!”

***The No. 88 Porsche 911 RSR of Proton Competition didn’t take part in Qualifying yesterday, due to a technical problem. Christian Ried will start the race, but from the back of the pack.

***Alex Brundle and Richard Dean were amongst the United Autosports crew members who had their heads shaved yesterday to raise money for cancer research.

***Race Performance has been fined 5,000 Euros for absence without force majeure, while Murphy Prototypes will have top pay 3,000 Euros for announcing its driver lineup after the deadline.

***The race will be broadcast live on the series’ Dailymotion and YouTube channels, starting at 12:40 p.m. BST on Sunday.

Laurent Mercier contributed to this report

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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