Multiple FIA World Champion José María López, fresh from victory at the FIA WEC 6 Hours of Monza last weekend, put the no47 COOL Racing Oreca-Gibson at the head of the field for tomorrow’s 4 Hours of Le Castellet, Round 2 of the 2023 European Le Mans Series.
The 15-minute qualifying session was red flagged after five minutes after the no22 United Autosports USA Oreca, driven by Oliver Jarvis, stopped on track and had to be recovered. The remaining six LMP2 cars had just over 10 minutes to set a qualifying lap when the green flag was waved to resume the session.
The no30 Duqueine Team Oreca of Rene Binder set the early pace, with Alex Lynn in the no25 Algarve Pro Racing Oreca going ahead of the Austrian with a 1m45.417. Job Van Uitert then went quickest in the no65 Panis Racing Oreca with a 1m45.017, holding the provisional pole position for about five seconds before Paul Loup Chatin went even quicker in the no28 IDEC Sport Oreca.
Van Uitert went quickest again on the next lap, only to be displaced by Chatin and with 1 minute left on the clock it looked like Paul Loup Chatin’s lap of 1m44.519 was going to be enough. However, Jose Maria Lopez was on a charge and crossed the line just before the chequered flag in 1m44.253, 0.266s quicker than his French rival.
Panis Racing will head the second row, with Olli Caldwell posting a 1m44.742 to secure a second row start for the no43 Inter Europol Competition Oreca, ahead of Alex Lynn and Rene Binder, who finished the session in 5th and 6th respectively.
LMP2 Pro/Am: Racing Team Turkey Dominate Qualifying
Salih Yoluç took his second pole of the 2023 season in the no34 Racing Team Turkey Oreca, the Turk lapping in 1m46.178, 0.830s ahead of the rest of the field, with the no99 Proton Competition Oreca of Giorgio Roda in second spot with a 1m47.008 lap.
Yoluç led the session from the start, pushing hard and reducing the pole time from 1m47.131 down to 1:46.178 at the halfway point of the session. He then brought the car into the pits with two minutes left on the clock.
Roda maintained his second place throughout the session but a determined challenge from the no24 Nielsen Racing Oreca of Rodrigo Sales, the Mexican-American driver moving up to third with a 1m47.208 at the chequered flag, just two tenths behind the no99 Proton Competition Oreca.
Tom Van Rompuy will start on the second row in the no3 DKR Engineering Oreca, 0.109s ahead of François Perrodo in the no83 AF Corse Oreca.
LMP3: WTM by Rinaldi Racing Take Pole at Le Castellet
Columbian Oscar Tunjo took a well-deserved pole position, lapping the Circuit Paul Ricard in 1m51.267 in the no12 WTM by Rinaldi Racing Duqueine-Nissan to snatch the top spot on the LMP3 for tomorrow’s 4 Hours of Le Castellet at the chequered flag from the no10 Eurointernational Ligier of Glenn Van Berlo.
The 15-minute session saw plenty of action as several cars made a bid for the top spot. Ryan Harper-Ellam was the first challenger in the no7 Nielsen Racing Ligier, the British driver appearing at the top of the timing screens several times during the session.
Glenn Van Berlo took provisional pole at the halfway point of the session, the no10 Eurointernational Ligier holding off a determined challenge from Harper-Ellam and Oscar Tunjo in the no12 Duqueine.
As the clock counted down Van Berlo posted a 1m51.326 and looked on course to secure the pole, but Tunjo had other ideas and a great last lap saw the Columbian taking the chequered flag 0.059s ahead of Van Berlo and 0.082s ahead of the third placed Harper-Ellam.
Kai Askey jumped up the order to fourth in his final lap in the no13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier to start tomorrow’s race on the second row.
LMGTE: Christian Ried Secures Pole for Proton Competition
The no77 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR-19 will start the 4 Hours of Le Castellet from the front of the 12 car LMGTE grid, with team boss Christian Ried claiming pole with a 1m56.260 lap halfway through the 15-minute session.
Three time Le Castellet race winner Duncan Cameron finished the session second fastest in the no55 Spirit of Race Ferrari, 0.147s behind Ried with a 1m56.407.
Michael Fassbender qualified the no93 Proton Competition Porsche in third place, posting a 1m56.482, just 0.075s behind Cameron. The no50 Formula Racing Ferrari of former champion Johnny Laursen will join the no93 Porsche on the second row.
Arnold Robin qualified the no72 TF Sport Aston Martin in 5th place ahead of the championship leading no16 Proton Competition Porsche of Ryan Hardwick.