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European Le Mans Series

WRT’s Deletraz Quickest on First Day of Prologue Test

Deletraz, Kubica on the pace in Catalunya as WRT leads first day of ELMS testing…

Photo: MPS Agency

Team WRT driver Louis Deletraz set the pace on day one of European Le Mans Series testing at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya ahead of this weekend’s season-opening race.

Deletraz clocked a time of 1:33.173 during the two-hour evening run to put WRT’s No. 41 car on top of the all-Oreca 07 Gibson LMP2 standings after three sessions of running.

The Swiss racer was followed by his driving partner Robert Kubica, who was the second-fastest competitor on Monday with a time of 1:33.991 that also came in the evening.

Deletraz ended up 1.5 seconds clear of the next LMP2 entry, which was the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Aurus 01-badged Oreca driven by Pietro Fittipaldi.

Before the WRT duo’s evening charge, Haas Formula 1 reserve Fittipaldi shot to the top of the combined leaderboard with the quickest time during the afternoon session, shaving two-tenths off Job van Uitert’s morning benchmark for United Autosports.

Fittipaldi narrowly beat reigning IMSA DPi champion Ricky Taylor to lead session two. Taylor’s DragonSpeed Oreca was the third-quickest car overall on a 1:34.825.

Duqueine Team ran fourth courtesy of Tristan Gommendy’s efforts, while van Uitert’s morning bid set the No. 32 Oreca from defending champion United Autosports in fifth.

Nicolas Lapierre put Cool Racing sixth, ahead of LMP2 newcomer Racing Team Turkey with Mazda DPi ace Harry Tincknell behind the wheel of the red TF Sport-run Oreca.

LMP2 cars in the ELMS are running with reduced power levels and increased minimum weight compared with last year. Cars are also limited to using low-downforce aero kits but this rule will come into effect after the 4 Hours of Barcelona this weekend. 

Michelin Le Mans Cup champion Laurents Hoerr set the day one testing pace in LMP3 aboard DKR Engineering’s Duqueine D08 Nissan.

The German driver’s time of 1:39.541 was the only sub-1m 40s figure of the day and ended up leading the category by almost seven-tenths of a second.

Last year’s ELMS champion Wayne Boyd ran second in a United Autosports Ligier JS P320 Nissan, from Eurointernational’s Joey Alders and Team Virage’s Garett Grist.

In the GTE division, Iron Lynx swept the top three places with its trio of Ferrari 488 GTE Evos.

Ferrari factory FIA World Endurance Championship driver Miguel Molina led the group with a 1:43.789 flyer set in the morning and also headed up the afternoon order.

This put the Spaniard almost a second clear of second-placed Paolo Ruberti, while Michelle Gatting came through in third ahead of new Spirit of Race signing David Perel.

The best Porsche 911 RSR-19 lap was a 1:45.162 set by Jaxon Evans of Proton Competition during the second session.

No GTE cars and less than half of the LMP2 field appeared during the evening session. Eight red flag stoppages peppered the track time across the morning and afternonoon.

Tuesday’s track action will consist of a four-hour morning session starting at 9 a.m. CEST and a three-hour afternoon spell starting at 2 p.m. CEST.

RESULTS: Session 1 / Session 2 / Session 3

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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