Second victory for the team that qualified third in class
After multiple podiums at the Belgian circuit of Spa-Francorchamps, Onroak Automotive has made it to the top step. With G-Drive Racing, the winning trio of drivers Julien Canal, Olivier Pla and Roman Rusinov, and running on Dunlop tyres, the #26 Morgan-Nissan LM P2 coasted to a victory at Spa, the second victory in a row in the FIA World Endurance Championship LM P2 category.
Friday’s qualifying session, made complicated by the typical changeable Spa weather, placed the #26 G-Drive Racing Morgan-Nissan LM P2 3rd in its class, and 10th on the grid, although Olivier Pla managed to set the fastest LM P2 lap in the session.
Olivier Pla took the wheel for the first double stint of the race. Thanks to a fluid overtaking manoeuvre to pass the #47 KCMG Oreca-Nissan, the French driver managed to bring the #26 G-Drive Racing Morgan-Nissan to the head of the pack of LM P2 cars by the 36th minute of the race, and kept it there, widening the gap to the rest of the competition.
Handing over to Roman Rusinov for his double stint, a smooth and faultless pitstop let them rejoin the track with a 35 second lead over the nearest competition. Rusinov did an excellent job, keeping the pace, and maintaining a 30 second gap to the #38 Jota Sport Zytek-Nissan LM P2. Delivering lap after consistent lap, he managed to extend his lead to over a minute by the end of his stint.
Just after the halfway mark, Rusinov handed over to silver driver Julien Canal, who rejoined the race with a 30 second lead over the #47 KCMG Oreca-Nissan. Canal, like Rusinov and Pla, gave a steady performance, and managed to bring the lead back up to a minute once more.
Olivier Pla took control of the #26 G-Drive Racing Morgan-Nissan LM P2 once more for the last hour and a half of the race, keeping a comfortable gap ahead of the #38 Jota Sport Zytek-Nissan and the #47 KCMG Oreca-Nissan, and setting the fastest lap time of the race for the LM P2 category (2:10.112).
After the changeable conditions from Silverstone and yesterday’s qualifying, today’s dry weather has shown that the #26 Morgan-Nissan LM P2 is as effective in the dry as in the wet.
After two consecutive wins, G-Drive Racing is at the head of the LM P2 classification, ahead of the next race: the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans.
"This victory was won in a beautiful fashion," Pla said, "with the right kind of gap we wanted at the end of the race. The car was perfect, the strategy too. Everyone did a great job. The car was just amazing, and the Dunlop tyres too; the tyres we used this weekend allowed us to keep the same tyres for two stints, all the while keeping up a very consistent pace. Thanks to the whole Dunlop team and to my teammates as well, they did a great job! It’s great to get a 2nd victory just before Le Mans, and it allows us to arrive there feeling calm and collected; we need to carry on this way."
"I think we’ve really progressed," said team principal Philippe Dumas. "We had a very good, solid race, which was the goal. Everybody worked very seriously, and I’m very happy and proud of our team, and also of our three drivers. Stay tuned for the next chapter."
FIA WEC – Spa 6 Hours Classification : 1. - #08 Toyota Racing, Toyota TS 040 – Hybrid LM P1 2. - #01 Audi Sport Team Joest, Audi R18 e-tron quattro LM P1 3. - #07 Toyota Racing, Toyota TS 040 – Hybrid LM P1 4. - #14 Porsche Team Porsche, Porsche 919 Hybrid LM P1 5. - #02 Audi Sport Team Joest, Audi R18 e-tron quattro LM P1 6. - #03 Audi Sport Team Joest, Audi R18 e-tron quattro LM P1 7. - #12 Rebellion Racing, Rebellion R-One Toyota LM P1 8. - #26 G-Drive Racing, Morgan-Nissan LM P2 9. - #38 Jota Sport, Zytek Z11SN-Nissan LM P2 10. - #47 KCMG, Oreca 03 – Nissan LM P2 11. - #37 SMP Racing, Oreca 03 – Nissan LM P2 12. - #27 SMP Racing, Oreca 03 – Nissan LM P2
FIA ENDURANCE TROPHY FOR LM P2 TEAMS – Classification after round 2 1. - #26 G-Drive Racing, 51 pts 2. - # 47 KCMG, 37 pts 3. - #27 SMP Racing, 27 pts 4. - #37 SMP Racing, 15 pts