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GRAFF Quickest In Red-Flagged Spa FP1

Proton leads the way in GTE Am

Johnathan Hirschi in the #39 GRAFF ORECA 07 Gibson finished the first ELMS Free Practice session at Spa-Francorchamps on top, with a 2:04.796, a promising start to his debut in the series with the French team.

The sister #40 GRAFF ORECA looked to top the times, at the end of the session, but it had a time deleted at the end of the session pushing it down to eighth, after a 2:04.434 originally put the car top.

Second in the running order was then inherited by the #21 10Star DragonSpeed ORECA, British driver Ben Hanley setting a 2:04.832, just 0.036 off Hirschi.

First of the other chassis was the title-contending United Autosports Ligier JS P217, Hugo De Sadeleer reeling off a 2:05.405, almost a second off the best time from GRAFF, to go third.

The #23 Panis Barthez Competition Ligier ended the day fourth, with the Cetilar Villorba Corse crew putting its Dallara into the top five.

There were two stoppages in the session, the first being g the #25 Algarve Pro Ligier of Andrea Roda stopping out on track, causing a Full-Course Yellow period. Later, the #28 IDEC Sport Ligier stopped too, out on track at Turn 6, this time bringing out Red Flags a few minutes before the end; the session did not restart.

Of the LMP3 runners, the #9 AT Racing Ligier got off to the fastest start, Dane Mikkel Jensen setting a 2:15.004 to pip the #3 United Autosports Ligier to the top spot. The best time from the #3 was a 2:15.335 by Wayne Boyd.

Third in the class was the second of the United cars, the championship-leading JS P3 of John Falb and Sean Rayhall, which lapped the circuit in 2:15.485.

The best of the Norma M30s was the #7 from Duqueine Engineering, which could only managed the eighth best time in the class. One of the other M30s, the #19 M.Racing YMR entry of Yann Erlacher and Neale Muston, didn’t make it out after series newcomer Muston had an off in this morning’s Bronze Test.

GTE was led by the #77 Proton Competition Porsche, Matteo Caroli touring Spa in 2:17.888, significantly quicker than the other runners in the GTE class. Second fastest was eventually the #99 Beechdean AMR Vantage with a 2:20.292 from Darren Turner.

Turner’s Aston Martin Racing WEC teammate Nicki Thiim put TF Sport’s Vantage third.

The second free practice session for the ELMS is set to get underway tomorrow morning at 9:55am.