ELMS – Cool Racing claim pole in Barcelona by narrow margin

The no47 Cool Racing Oreca claimed pole position for tomorrow’s 4 Hours of Barcelona after a dramatic 15-minute qualifying session for the seven LMP2 competitors. Reshad de Gerus posted a 1m29.396 on his final lap, the French driver heading the field by just 39 thousandths of a second.

James Allen in the no25 Algarve Pro Racing Oreca set the early pace but with a change of tyres for all the competitors with 5 minutes on the clock, the lap times started to tumble.

Neel Jani in the no30 Duqueine Team Oreca went quickest with a 1m29.692, just 0.001s ahead of Phil Hanson in the no22 United Autosports USA Oreca before the Swiss driver went a tenth quicker. It looked like Jani was heading for the French teams first pole but James Allen went 8 thousandths of a second faster with a 1m29.585 as the chequered flag was shown.

However, De Gerus was on a flying lap and as he crossed the line the clock stopped at 1m29.396 to claim the championship point for pole position by 0.039s. The no25 Algarve Pro Racing Oreca will be on the front row, with the no30 Duqueine Team and no22 United Autosports Orecas on row 2 of tomorrow’s grid.

LMP2 Pro/Am
Racing Team Turkey claimed the first pole position for LMP2 Pro/Am, with their bronze driver Salih Yoluc setting the best time of the session. The 15-minute qualifying session was interrupted by a red flag at the halfway point when the no81 DragonSpeed Oreca stopped on track.
Up until the red flag the session had been headed by the no99 Proton Competition Oreca of former LMGTE champion Giorgio Roda.

At the restart, with 8-minutes left on the clock, Salih Yoluc immediately set the fastest time with a 1m31.327 lap, which the Turkish driver improved to 1m30.947, over a second ahead of the rest of the field.Roda responded and cut the gap to 0.32s but was unable to overhaul his rival before chequered flag was shown.

The no3 DKR Engineering Oreca of Tom Van Rompuy was third fastest with a 1m33.010, two seconds behind the leading car and 0.078s ahead of the no24 Nielsen Racing Oreca.

Cool Racing claimed their seventh pole position in a row with Marcos Siebert claiming the top spot in the LMP3 class.
The Argentinian driver posted a 1m35.250 lap in the no17 Ligier-Nissan, 0.312s ahead of the no13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier driven by Wyatt Brichacek, who was 0.054s ahead of Antoine Doquin in the no31 Racing Spirit of Leman Ligier.The no12 WTM Racing by Rinaldi was the top Duqueine in fourth place.

The LMP3 session was cut short by a red flag 90-seconds before the chequered flag when the no8 Team Virage Ligier, driven by Manuel Espirito Santo, went off track and ended up stuck in the gravel.

JMW Motorsport got their season off to a great start, claiming the championship point for pole position in qualifying for the 4 Hours of Barcelona. Martin Berry went quickest with five minutes left on the clock, his 1m41.060 going ahead of the no16 Proton Competition Porsche Hardwick.
The no57 Kessel Racing Ferrari of Takeshi Kimura had set the early pace in the qualifying session and the Japanese driver was pushing hard in the closing minutes of the session. He posted a 1m41.173 lap in the final minute to start on the front row of the LMGTE grid just 0.113s behind Berry and ahead of the no16 Porsche.

Arnold Robin was fourth fastest in the no72 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage, 0.045s ahead of the no44 GMB Motorsport Aston Martin of Jens Moller, with Michael Fassbender in the no93 Proton Competition Porsche in sixth.