The #3 DKR Engineering Norma M30 driven by Leonard Hoogenboom and Jens Petersen took its second consecutive victory in the Michelin Le Mans Cup this season. It is also the seventh consecutive victory of the Norma M30 in this Series. The two other podium spots went to two Ligiers: the #2 Ecurie Ecosse and the #14 RLR MSport (respectively 20 and 23 seconds behind the winning car).
Cars at the top of the grid took a clean start. The pole sitting car easily kept the lead while the #3 DKR Engineering Norma driven by Jens Petersen took an agressive start (fifth on the grid, second on lap three).
On lap four, the safety car was released as the #79 Ecurie Ecosse Ligier JSP3 in the hands of Alasdair McCaig was hit from the rear by the with the #65 Graff Ligier JSP3 in the second Lesmo (T7). The latter retired in the pits while the #79 rejoined the track after attention from the crew.
On restart, it was a neck to neck race between three Normas: the #25 Lanan Racing driven by Michael Benham, the #21 DB Autosport Norma driven by Nicolas Schatz and the #3. Schatz took the lead on lap 8 and pulled away very easily (over a second a lap). Meanwhile the #3 and the #25 fought relentlessly for second position until both cars pitted for driver changes.
At the top of the second hour, Schatz consolidated a 46 second lead. He drove through his pit but missed his stall, stopping a few yards after the pit exit and retiring, the car our of fuel!
Leonord Hoogenboom in the #3 and James Littlejohn in the #2 Ecurie Ecosse Ligier JSP3 inherited the lead (and second place) of the race.
On lap 33, Duncan Tappy in the #25 went off track in the Parabolica after contact with the #44 SPV Ligier as the Englishman tried to take 4th position. This triggered a Full Course Yellow episode.
On restart, Hoogenboom kept first position and pulled away easily from the #2 and the #14 RLR MSport Ligier JSP3 driven by Job Van Uitert.
Although the Dutchman closed down on James Littlejohn at the end of the race, the top three positions remained unchanged until the chequered flag. The #24 Cool Racing Ligier JSP3 (fourth) and the #40 Graff Ligier JSP3 (fifth) were just off the podium with a fine late race charge from Christian England coming to naught as the #23 United/ Gulf Marine Ligier suffered a problem after a great opening stint from Richard Mens was built on in fine style as England climbed up to challenge for fourth overall before pitting into retirement.
There were rather too many unforced errors afflicting a number of the runners, principally it seemed amongst the Norma runners with several other cars showing competitive pace but finding them selves out of contention.
In GT3 the win went the way of the #8 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 of Sergio Pianezzola — who started the car, and Giacomo Piccini — who finished it.
The #8 Ferrari led all the way from lap one when it made a great start to sneak past the pole-sitting #88 Ebimotors Porsche 911 GT3 R, who found themselves stuck in traffic. Form there Pianezzola had his head down and produced a gap that would last all the way to the pitstops when Piccini took control of the car and brought it home without drama.
“I just had to control it at the end,” said Piccini after the race, “… the car was amazing, its fantastic!”
Second in GT3 was the #71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 driven this weekend by Pierguiseppe Perrazini and Marco Cioci. That car pitted alongside the #88 Porsche on lap 29 of the race and would leave the pits in second, where it would remain.
Rounding out the podium in the class was the aforementioned #88 Ebimotors Porsche 911 GT3 R. The #88 entered into the pitstop cycle in fourth but benefited from a rough pitstop by the #51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 to move back up into third. Alessandro Baccani took over at lap 28 and would finish the race.
There was late race drama for the #51 Ferrari and #77 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 who made contact while battling for fourth place on the run down to the first Lesmo on the final lap, this coming soon after Andrea Piccini was penalised with a drive through for earlier contact, the Italian fully fired up on return to the track.