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European Le Mans Series 2018 - 4 Hours of Silverstone

17th - 18th August 2018

Event report Raymond Bonnello, photos Fréderic Lemaire

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For the 4th round of the 2018 season, the ELMS took place in the UK circuit at Silverstone, known for being a mecca for British motorsport.

16 LMP2, 18 LMP3 and 7 LMGTE were on the entry-list.

LMP2

Britain’s Will Stevens (Ligier JSP217 – Gibson #23 - Panis Barthez Competition) claimed pole position for his home race, posting a rapid 1m43.690 on his last flying lap to take the top spot for this afternoon’s 4 Hours of Silverstone by over seven tenths of a second.

With a time of 1'44''426, Jean-Eric Vergne (ORECA-Gibson #26 - G-Drive Racing) signed the second best lap. Ben Hanley (Oreca 07 - Gibson #21 - DragonSpeed) and Nicolas Jamin (Oreca 07 - Gibson #29 - Duqueine Engineering) took respectively the third and fourth places on the grid.

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The race

Roman Rusinov, Andrea Pizzitola and Jean-Eric Vergne (ORECA-Gibson #26 - G-Drive Racing) won the 4 Hours of Silverstone, the third win in a row for the Russian flagged team to extend their championship lead with 87 points.

Nicolas Lapierre, Henrik Hedman and Ben Hanley (Oreca 07 - Gibson #21 - DragonSpeed) and Paul Lafargue, Paul Loup Chatin and Memo Rojas (Oreca 07 - Gibson #28 - IDEC Sport) completed the podium not without conceded one lap to the winners.

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LMP3

Mattia Drudi (Ligier JS P3 - Nissan #12 - Eurointernational) took pole position in 1'55''508, ahead of Ross Kaiser (Ligier JS P3 - Nissan #6 - 360 Racing), followed Sean Rayhall (Ligier JS P3 - Nissan #2 - United Autosports) at 0"154 of the poleman and ahead of Matt Bell by 0''141 (Ligier JS P3 - Nissan #3 - United Autosports).

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The race

Tony Wells, Matt Bell and Garret Grist (Ligier JS P3 – Nissan #3 - United Autosports) took their first LMP3 win of the 2018 season ahead of Colin Noble, Alex Kapadia and Christian Stubbe Olsen (Ligier JS P3 – Nissan #7 - ECURIE ECOSSE / NIELSEN) and Mathieu Lahaye, Jean-Baptiste Lahaye and François Heriau (Norma M 30 – Nissan #17 – Ultimate) the three cars finishing in the same 117th lap.

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LMGTE

In 1'58''704, the Norwegian Dennis Olsen (Porsche 911 RSR #77 - Proton Competition) clinched the pole of a highly contested qualifying session.

Matteo Cairoli (Porsche 911 RSR #88 - Proton Competition) finished the qualifying session six hundredths of a second behind his teammate.

The top three cars split by just 0.14 seconds.

At the chequered flag it was a Porsche 911 RSR 1-2-3, with Ben Barker (Porsche 911 RSR 991 #86 - Gulf Racing) third fastest.

Miguel Molina (Ferrari F488 GTE #66 - JMW Motorsport) completed the second line.

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The race

Gianluca Roda (Porsche 911 RSR #88 - Proton Competition) made a good start to lead ahead of Christian Ried (Porsche 911 RSR #77 - Proton Competition).

The two 911 RSRs were followed by Liam Griffin (Ferrari F488 GTE #66 - JMW Motorsport) and Duncan Cameron (Ferrari F488 GTE #55 Spirit of Race).

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A good battle developed with the two Ferraris eventually getting the upper hand over their Porsche rivals.

Miguel Molina (Ferrari F488 GTE #66 - JMW Motorsport) hunting down and passing Matt Griffin (Ferrari F488 GTE #55 Spirit of Race).

The two leading Ferraris were subject to a 10 second penalty for exceeding track limits.

Then it was enough to Matteo Cairoli was catching the leading pair and only had to finish within 10 seconds of Molina’s Ferrari to take the win.

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On the final lap Cairoli, Porsche #88, caught Matt Griffin, Ferrari #55, but an incident saw the two cars go off track, with the Porsche moving ahead of the Ferrari.

However, the slight delay caused by the off track moment cost Cairoli and at the chequered flag he was 10.126s behind Molina, which translated into a win for the Spanish driver by just 0.126s.

This meant that victory went to the #66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari for the second time in 2018.

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See you for the next round of 2018 European Le Mans Series at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday 23 September.

(Based on ELMS Press release)

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