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2020 ELMS 4 Hours of Le Castellet
fun in the sun on the Cote D'Azur as the European Le Mans Series gets underway
Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey/ELMS
The #32 United Autosports Oreca with Job Van Uiert at the wheel took the first win of the 2020 season under sunny skies in the south of France.
Poleman Phil Hanson fought hard throughout the race and was looking to be on target for the win when a front left puncture dropped the Brit back to fourth place. Thomas Laurent took second place in the #39 Graff Oreca with Dutch driver Nyck De Vries grabbing third. Unfortunately for Laurent, the #39 Graff got a three-lap penalty for non-respect of the driving time of teammate Alexandre Cougnaud, dropping them down the classification; this then promoted the #26 G-Drive Aurus to second and the #22 United Autosports Oreca into third.
Van Uiert said, “We had a good race but it was very stressful too, waiting to get to the end. But we managed it and to come away with a win in my first race with United is fantastic! All three of us worked really hard all weekend to get the best out the car and I feel we didn’t make any big mistakes today, which helped towards getting our win.”
Photo Credit: Jakob Ebrey/ELMS
In the LMP3 class, victory went to the #2 United Autosports Ligier driven by Wayne Boyd, Tom Gamble and Rob Wheldon. An action-packed class battle finally saw the #13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier finish second in class with Ryan Harper bringing the #15 RLR M-Sport Ligier home in third place.
Gamble said, “My first race with United was really good. We’ve been fast all weekend and we had one goal for the race. Wayne did a great job in qualifying which made my job of starting the race easier. Then in the race itself, we got off to a really good start and I managed to build a gap. We got unlucky with the safety car too, pitting before it came out. Rob had a great stint, then Wayne managed to put in a fantastic final stint to get us back into the lead and bring home the win.”
As always, the LMGTE class featured plenty of action during the four-hour race in the Cote D'Azur, with the #77 Proton Competition Porsche of Christian Ried, Michele Beretta and Alessio Picariello coming first in class.
The #98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage of Paul Dalla Lana got a drive-through penalty for contact with the #5 Graff Ligier. The leading Ferrari also got a drive-through for jumping the start of the race. Then, the #93 Proton Competition Porsche of rookie Michael Fassbender went off the track at turn 1 when the #8 Realteam Racing Ligier cut across him after passing the Porsche in the braking zone. Fassbender picked up damage and had to get the car back to the pits for repairs.; the #8 Ligier penalised for causing the accident.
The #55 Spirit of Race Ferrari crashed into the barriers at Signes after contact with the #30 Duqueine Team Oreca, driven by Konstantin Tereschenko.
At the end of the race, the #77 Proton 911RSR of Picariello was 15.4 seconds ahead of the second-placed #74 Kessel Racing Ferrari of David Perel and the #83 Iron Lynx Ferrari of Rahal Frey.