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Racing Engineering Wins 4H Le Castellet in ELMS Debut

Pla, Nato, Petit victorious in ELMS opener on Racing Engineering’s debut…

Photo: Olivier Beroud Images

Racing Engineering has claimed victory in its European Le Mans Series debut, with its Oreca 07 Gibson driven by Olivier Pla, Norman Nato and Paul Petit taking top honors in Sunday’s Four Hours of Le Castellet at Paul Ricard.

Pla crossed the line 4.827 seconds ahead of Matthieu Vaxiviere in the No. 33 TDS Racing Oreca for the win.

The Spanish-run Oreca benefited from an incident just before halfway that took out the rival DragonSpeed Oreca of Ben Hanley, Nicolas Lapierre and Henrik Hedman.

Lapierre led the opening stages and despite a front-left puncture was still in contention heading into the second half of the four-hour contest.

However, Hedman had a heavy collision with a GTE Ferrari at the fast Signes right-hander that took both cars out of the race and triggered a safety car period.

From there the Racing Engineering crew commanded proceedings with Petit and ex-Formula 2 racer Nato each taking victories in their first LMP2 race appearances.

Duqueine Engineering finished third with Nicolas Jamin, Pierre Ragues and Nelson Panciatici only seven seconds down at the end despite making an extra pit stop.

The No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca finished fourth, while the No. 36 Signatech Alpine A470 Gibson rounded out the top-five.

Last Lap Pass Gives JMW Ferrari Victory in GTE

GTE class honors went to the JMW Motorsport Ferrari 488 GTE crew of Miguel Molina, Liam Griffin and Alex MacDowall.

A thrilling last-lap battle between Molina and Matteo Cairoli in the Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR resulted in the Ferrari factory driver making the vital move at Turn 7.

Cairoli started the final tour in the lead, but Molina attempted to squeeze through on the inside of the last corner before the Mistral Straight, forcing the Porsche to take evasive action across the stripy run-off.

Cairoli re-joined the track in front further down the straight, but Molina held the better line through Signes and held on to claim a dramatic victory.

In LMP3, British outfit RLR MSport chalked up its first class win since 2015 with Rob Garofall, Job van Uitert and John Farano.

RESULTS: 4H Le Castellet

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and various electric racing series.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Steven

    April 15, 2018 at 10:40 am

    Fantastic race as usual by the ELMS teams. Even better live stream.

  2. Sorc

    April 15, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    First time I’ve watched a race of this series in full, couldn’t tear my eyes away from the stream! Great field and a great race.

  3. KW

    April 15, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Very good and stable live stream today and an exciting race. ELMS is really a success story. Congrats to Racing Engineering, new in the series and an overall win in their first race. Disappointing performance by United Autosports; probably they struggled with the setup and/or the tires. Incredible last lap in GTE, but someone should tell Matteo Cairoli that there are track limits…

  4. N8

    April 16, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    Missed the 5AM start, but ELMS had the replay hosted on Dailymotion 10 minutes after the checkered flag. Great work and great race.

    I will say, I can’t remember the last time Henrik Hedman DIDN’T spin it or bin it out of contention. Terrifying to think this guy is going to be at the wheel of an LMP1 car next month. He’s already in WAY over his head.

  5. Marco

    April 17, 2018 at 6:11 am

    Molina completely cut the righthand corner. Right side wheels far over/past the curbs, left side wheels halfway on the curbs. Came out beside Cairoli, contact, pushed Cairoli wide/off.

  6. Mark

    April 18, 2018 at 1:27 pm

    Managed to watch a good 90% of the race – like others have said, the live stream was very impressive, the ELMS really does seem to cater well for the fans.

    Sensational win by Racing Engineering, especially when you consider they’re not just new to ELMS but to sportscars as a whole – and their livery is pretty cool too!
    Can’t wait to watch the series at Silverstone in August.

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