The #3 DKR Engineering Norma M30 driven by Jean Glorieux and Alexander Toril won the Spa Francorchamps round of the 2017 Michelin Le Mans Cup and the Teams Championship in the process, the first major title for the M30. This after immediate contender in the competition, the #79 Nielsen Racing Ligier JSP3 driven by Colin Noble and Anthony Wells finished second.
“It’s really special [to win this title],” said Toril after the end of the race. “We joined this Championship at the very last minute with a brand new car – the Norma. We went to Monza with only one test done. The collaboration with the team and Jean worked well from the very beginning. I never thought we would win the title in LMP3 on our first year,” he added.
When the lights went out, pole-sitter Glorieux in the DKR Engineering Norma kept the lead, while Anthony Wells in the #79 Nielsen Racing Ligier JSP3 suffered a poor start and dropped to sixth position.
The car in second position – the #99 N’Race Ligier JSP3 driven by Alain Costa – could not keep up with the pace of the Norma and was loosing three to four seconds a lap on the lead car. Alex Kapadia in the #14 RLR M Sport Ligier JSP3 rapidly catched up on Costa. The Brit and the Ligier were actually faster than the Norma M30 today, especially in the middle sector of the track. The advantage of twenty seconds that Glorieux had built lowered down to four seconds just moments before mid-race.
Meanwhile, the #99 lost further ground, in particular when the team was handed two penalties following a touch at Fagnes with the #79 (one penalty for causing the accident and another one for speeding in the pits).
All these race events led Iradj Alexander in the #4 Cool Racing by GBC Ligier JSP3 to third position and the #79 to fourth position.
Once drivers were changed, Ross Warburton in the #14 could not keep up with the pace of Alexander Toril in the lead car, Alexander Coigny in the #4 nor Colin Noble in the #79. The Nielsen Racing Ligier overtook the #14 easily while the #4 encountered problems and dropped down in the rankings. Warburton kept losing ground on the field ahead of and behind him. This paved the way for Andy Meyrick in the #98 Motorsport 98 Ligier JSP3. The Brit took the checkered flag in third position.
The #4 Cool Racing by GPC Ligier JSP3 finished seventh, the #14 RLR M Sports finished ninth and the #99 N’Race Ligier finished 12th.
The #23 United Autosport Ligier JSP3 and the #53 MRacing YMR Ligier JSP3 did not finish the race. The #33 Ibran Pardo Javier Ligier JSP3 did not compete because of engine problems.
In the GT3 category, the top three cars on the grid held station during the five opening laps of the race with the #46 Ebimotors Lamborghini Huracan GT3 driven by Emmanuelle Busnelli leading Lee Mowle in the #7 Lee Mowle Mercedes AMG GT3 and Cédric Mézard in the #8 SVC Sport Management Lamborghini Huracan GT3.
On Lap 6 though, Mowle overtook Busnelli. “We have a new chassis for this race. It gives me so much more confidence in this car” said Mowle after his stint while Busnelli was suffering from significant understearing. A few laps later, the Italian driver further dropped to third place in the category after losing a position to Mezard but kept on fighting and regained second position on lap 17.
After the compulsory driver change, the #7 consolidated its lead of 20 seconds over the #46 and 30 seconds over the #8.
On lap 30, Steeve Hiesse in the #8 lost his third place to Ben Barker in the #20 Gulf Racing UK Porsche 911 GT3R. Barker was by far the fastest in the GT3 category during the second hour of the race. He caught Babini in the #46 on lap 44 and overtook him after an exhilarating fight on lap 49, just a few minutes before the checkered flag. Hesse finished in fourth position in the GT3 category.
After today’s result, the #46 Ebimotors Lamborghini Huracan GT3 still keeps its lead of the GT3 Michelin Le Mans Cup championship.
Next up for the Michelin Le Mans Cup racers is a round in Portimao on October 22, 2017.