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European Le Mans Series

Vergne Takes Maiden ELMS Pole

G-Drive’s Jean-Eric Vergne resists late pressure to top 4H Spa qualifying…

Photo: MPS Agency

Jean-Eric Vergne took his first-ever European Le Mans Series pole position in qualifying for tomorrow’s Four Hours of Spa.

The reigning Formula E champion clocked a time of 2:00.937 behind the wheel of the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 07 Gibson, which he shares with Andrea Pizzitola and Roman Rusinov.

Vergne resisted a late charge from Filipe Albuquerque, who fell just 0.177 seconds short in the No. 22 United Autosports Ligier JS P217 Gibson on his final lap.

Nelson Panciatici also made a late improvement to sneak onto the second row in the Duqueine Engineering Oreca, while Paul-Loup Chatin qualified fourth for IDEC Sport.

Gustavo Menezes completed the top five in the APR Rebellion Racing Oreca, nine tenths down on Vergne’s marker, while Norman Nato was sixth in the Racing Engineering Oreca.

In LMP3, Matthieu Lahaye scored his and Ultimate’s third pole in five races with a time of 2:21.201 in the No. 17 Norma M30 Nissan.

The Frenchman was briefly displaced by ELMS debutant Scott Andrews midway through the session but re-installed himself at the top with five minutes to go.

Lahaye held on from a gradually improving Mattia Drudi, who finished 0.065 seconds down in the No. 11 Eurointernational Ligier JSP3 Nissan, while Ross Kaiser slotted into third right at the end in the 360 Racing Ligier.

Colin Noble ran fourth for Ecurie Ecosse/Nielsen Racing, while Job van Uitert rounded out the top five in the championship-leading RLR MSport Ligier.

Pole position in LMGTE went to Matteo Cairoli as Proton Competition scored a front-row lockout with its two Porsche 911 RSRs.

The Italian dominated the session with a time of 2:15.654 in the points-leading No. 88 car that was exactly seven tenths quicker than Dennis Olsen in the sister Proton entry.

Riccardo Pera qualified third in the Ebimotors Porsche, marking the third consecutive session in which the German manufacturer’s cars have filled out the top three.

The fastest Ferrari 488 GTE lap came right at the end of the session, although Matt Griffin was still 1.925 seconds off the pace in the fourth-placed No. 66 JMW Motorsport entry.

The Four Hours of Spa was originally set to get underway tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. local time, but an adverse weather forecast has resulted in the start being brought forward to 10:45 a.m.

RESULTS: Qualifying

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.

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