Following the cancellation of the Imola round, Circuit Paul Ricard hosted the second round of the European Le Mans Series season. In the midst of a heatwave making its way across mainland Europe, the Iron Lynx #60 Porsche 911 RSR – 19 of Claudio Schiavoni, Matteo Cairoli and Matteo Cressoni were ready to take to the demanding French circuit.
The team showed good pace in Free Practice, with the #60 less than a tenth away from the top spot in both sessions. When qualifying came around, Claudio was able to put in a best time of 1:57.790 to line up 12th in class for the four-hour race.
At the start, Claudio kept out of trouble and he was able to hold position, and put in good times as his stint progressed. He worked his way up into the top 10 before a Safety Car was about to be called for contact between two other LMGTEs. The team took the chance to pit before the pits were closed, and Claudio handed over to Matteo.
The strategy worked out superbly for the team, and Matteo was in the top eight soon after the restart. From there, he picked off cars one by one, and was in contention for a podium with a TF Sport entry and the JMW Motorsport entry as his stint approached its end.
He handed over to Cairoli in second position with a three-second lead to the #16 Proton Competition Porsche behind. From there, he was able to extend his lead to a comfortable margin to around half a minute to the battle for the final step on the podium and comfortably took the chequered flag in second position.
The first podium finish of the season moves the #60 Iron Lynx entry and the teams’ drivers into the lead of the championship.
Le Mans Cup
Also at Le Castellet, Hiroshi Hamaguchi secured the first pole position for Iron Lynx in a Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO2. While avoiding contact between LMP3 cars ahead at the start, he dropped a couple of positions but held onto third in the first part of the 110-minute race, keeping within range of the leader.
There were several Full Course Yellow instances during the race, one of which falling during the pitstop window, and that was the opportune moment for all cars to change drivers. Vincent Abril took over and continued the team’s strong pace in the second half of the race.
Unfortunately, the team had to serve a penalty for a pitstop infringement but a pair of penalties for the #86 HCR with CaffeineSix entry promoted the #63 Iron Lynx back into the podium places with third place for the team’s first podium of the season.
Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia
Overlooking the stunning Mount Fuji, Lamborghini Super Trofeo Asia was provided with a magnificent backdrop for the third round of the season. Both races were held with low-lying cloud and rain lingering in the air.
The #33 of Marc Darwin and Loh Lean Shen, and the #37 of Kumar Prabakaran, raced strongly in the first race of the weekend. Prabakaran took a class victory with a strong run throughout, despite losing out on an overall position by 0.002-second on a dash to the chequered flag, while Darwin and Shen recovered from an early incident to take second place in the Am class.
Race Two proved to be trickier for the two Iron Lynx entries. Prabakaran’s race was hampered by a puncture after running well, while the #33, which started from pole position in class, lost positions late on after being in contention for a podium finish. Both cars finished in fourth in their respective classes.