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Estoril: LMP2 Qualifying, Lapierre Sets Third 2016 Pole For Dragonspeed

Drying track sees big gaps beyond top trio

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Vitaly Petrov (#32 SMP Racing BR01) was an early (but harmless) spinner as the track stayed wet for the final 10 minutes of qualifying.

Dimitri Enjalbert was first to top the times with a representative lap, 1:46.397 as sunshine broke through on one part of the lap for the #28 IDEC Sport Ligier Judd with Paul Loup Chatin a quarter second back in the #23 Panis Barthez Ligier.

The #23 though was on top next time around, Chatin with a 1:45.779.

6 minutes in and it was an all Michelin shod 1,2,3.

Olivier Pla though was getting involved, up to third in the now Dunlop shod #40 Krohn Ligier.

That became fourth as Petrov banged in a lap good enough for third, and fifth when Nico Lapierre popped up second fastest in the #21 Dragonspeed Oreca with Pla soon improving again, third as the 90 second mark passed.

Chatin had improved his provisional pole toime to a 1:45.455 meanwhile with Lapierre looking certain to better it with two purple sectors until an issue in the final part of the lap saw him lift right off and gather himself for a final charge.

Olivier Pla though had no such uissues, 1:45.237 as the checkered flag came out saw the #40 Krohn Racing car on top.

Petrov was soon up to third but to men were still out there and running very quickly as the track continued to dry out.

First Lapierre crossed the line, 1:44.146 but Chatin, and now van der Garde were going quickly too, the Dragonspeed man’s effort though had been good enough, Chatin would be second for Panis Barthez, van der Garde third fastest for the Championship contending #38 G-Drive Gibson.

The Championship leading #46 meanwhile was way down, an early whoopsie for Mathias Beche didn’t help and the car would finish the session 7th, 3 seconds down on the polesetting car.

Nico Lapierre: “It was difficult out there. The team took the right decision to choose inters. We knew that Michelins would be good in such an environment and that we needed some luck. This was the best of choices in the end. I lifted in my penultimate lap just to ensure that I would have a clean lap and that I would get the driest track. It worked out well for us in the end.”

QUALIFYING TIMES >>