Silverstone ELMS: G-Drive dominates as title rival crashes out

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Silverstone ELMS: G-Drive dominates as title rival crashes out
By: Alasdair Lindsay
Aug 18, 2018, 6:13 PM

G-Drive Racing strengthened its European Le Mans Series title bid with a third straight victory at Silverstone, as chief championship rival Racing Engineering crashed out in the final half hour.

Roman Rusinov took first place moments before the end of his single stint, passing early leader Julien Canal’s Panis-Barthez Competition Ligier.

No one was able to muster resistance to Rusinov, Jean-Eric Vergne and Andrea Pizzitola’s dominant #26 G-Drive entry after the first hour. Its sister #40 car had been right behind Rusinov while James Allen was at the wheel, but quickly fell backwards after Jose Gutierrez took over.

That left the #24 Racing Engineering Oreca a distant second, the sole front-running car not to stop under full course yellow.

Nato then went straight on at Vale with less than half an hour remaining, crashing head-on into the barriers and climbing out unhurt.

DragonSpeed trio Ben Hanley, Nicolas Lapierre and Henrik Hedman finished second thanks to a late splash-and-dash stop by the #28 IDEC Sport Oreca.

Hedman fell backwards quickly through the order during his two stints, but on both occasions, Hanley and then Lapierre picked their way back into podium contention to finish a lap down on the winning G-Drive car.

Paul Lafargue took third for IDEC Sport with teammates Erik Maris and Nicolas Minassian in a last-lap pass on APR–Rebellion’s Gustavo Menezes, with Graff driver Tristan Gommendy also sneaking past Menezes at Club on the last lap to steal fourth place.

LMP3: United Autosports win but lose 1-2

United Autosports trio Matthew Bell, Anthony Wells and Garett Grist resisted a late charge from Ecurie Ecosse’s Colin Noble to take their team’s first win this season.

#3 United Autosports Ligier JS P3 - Nissan: Anthony Wells, Garret Grist, Matthew Bell

#3 United Autosports Ligier JS P3 - Nissan: Anthony Wells, Garret Grist, Matthew Bell

Photo by: ELMS

Despite a spin at Abbey on the opening lap by Sean Rayhall in the sister #2 United Autosports Ligier, the American outfit looked set for a 1-2 finish until a lack of power stranded them in pit lane during their final stop.

This allowed a clear path for Noble to charge after the #3 Ligier, and though he closed a half minute gap to only nine seconds, he ran out of laps to catch Wells.

Matthieu Lahaye benefitted from a collision between Rob Garofall and James Swift to take third place late in the race. An opportunistic dive by Garofall at Vale while fighting for third had sent both him and Swift into a spin, allowing Lahaye to slip past.

GTE: JMW wins by 0.126s despite time penalty

#66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari F488 GTE: Liam Griffin, Alex MacDowall, Miguel Molina

#66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari F488 GTE: Liam Griffin, Alex MacDowall, Miguel Molina

Photo by: ELMS

Miguel Molina pulled off a last-gasp victory for JMW Motorsport over Proton Competition’s Matteo Cairoli, edging out just enough time to win despite incurring a 10-second penalty.

Molina’s Ferrari 488 GTE teammates Liam Griffin and Alex MacDowell were punished for breaching track limits on too many occasions, as was the #55 Spirit of Race Ferrari that finished in third place.

Both the #66 Ferrari and #88 Porsche had entered pitlane for their final stops together but a slow stop by the Proton crew left Cairoli with nearly 20s to make up, 10s with the penalty applied, and the Italian fell short by just 0.126s.

Race results (top 10):

Pos. # Drivers Car Laps Time Gap
1 26 France Jean-Eric Vergne 
Russian Federation Roman Rusinov 
France Andrea Pizzitola 
Oreca 07 128 4:01'37.859  
2 21 France Nicolas Lapierre 
Sweden Henrik Hedman 
United Kingdom Ben Hanley 
Oreca 07 127 4:02'18.817 1 Lap
3 28 France Paul-Loup Chatin 
Mexico Memo Rojas 
France Paul Lafargue 
Oreca 07 127 4:02'27.147 1 Lap
4 39 France Tristan Gommendy 
Switzerland Jonathan Hirschi 
France Alexandre Cougnaud 
Oreca 07 127 4:02'38.484 1 Lap
5 31 United States Gustavo Menezes 
United Kingdom Harrison Newey 
Ireland Ryan Cullen 
Oreca 07 127 4:02'39.588 1 Lap
6 23 United Kingdom Will Stevens 
France Julien Canal 
France Timothé Buret 
Ligier JS P217 127 4:02'56.356 1 Lap
7 29 France Nelson Panciatici 
France Pierre Ragues 
France Nico Jamin 
Oreca 07 127 4:02'58.220 1 Lap
8 30 Russian Federation Konstantin Tereshchenko 
Portugal Henrique Chaves 
Dallara P217 126 4:02'32.847 2 Laps
9 49 Denmark Anders Fjordbach 
Denmark Dennis Andersen 
Dallara P217 126 4:03'19.638 2 Laps
10 32 United Kingdom Wayne Boyd 
United States Will Owen 
Switzerland Hugo De Sadeleer 
Ligier JS P217 125 4:02'04.410 3 Laps
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