It was a memorable Qualifying session for Matthieu Vaxiviere and the TDS Racing crew today at Monza, snatching pole position, Vaixiere’s first ever in the ELMS, and TDS’ third.
To take pole, Vaxiviere set a 1:35.456, just before red flags came out with a few minutes to go.
“We are really happy,” he said. “We worked hard since last year and it’s amazing… I did a really good lap.”
Second in class was Ben Hanley in the #21 Dragonspeed Oreca 07, whose best time was a 1:35.837. He was followed by the #31 APR-Rebellion with Gustavo Menezes who reeled off a 1:36.034.
Just outside the top three, the #29 Duqueiene Engineering and #26 G-Drive 07 Gibsons made it an ORECA 1-2-3-4-5.
The best placed Ligier in LMP2 meanwhile, was the #22 United Autosports JS P217 of Filipe Albuquerque, who finished up the session in sixth with a time of 1:36.414.
Unfortunately, the LMP2 session didn’t run cleanly, after Ate De Jong went head-on into the tyre barriers at Parabolica as session ended in the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P217. De Jong managed to walk away from the car thankfully, which sustained heavy front-end damage on impact.
LMP3 meanwhile, saw an intense battle until the very end of the session.
Mathieu Lahaye in the #17 Ultimate Norma M30 snatched pole position with a 1:45.386. It is the first ever pole for the French team and the second consecutive one for a Norma M30 in the series.
“The car was perfect” said Lahaye. “I was able to improve lap after lap. Our final one [Lap 6] was perfect. We are ready for the win.”
Second in class was another Norma: the #19 M Racing YMR driven by David Droux (1:45.610). Droux was at the top of the time charts during a significant part of the session.
Taking the final podium position in the category was the fastest of the Ligier JSP3s: the #9 AT Racing driven by Mikkel Jensen (1:45.615). That car was only five thousands of a second behind the #19. Sean Rayhall put the #2 United Ligier in the final slot on the second row, the American going top early in the session, but ending up fourth.
In GTE the #80 Ebimotors Porsche 911 RSR GTE took pole for the team’s home race. Italian Ricardo Pera put in the time of 1:47.493 to narrowly better the three platinum drivers in the session.
“It’s fantastic, the car was good and the mechanics did a really good job,” Pera said after celebrating with the team, “it’s my home race. I did my best, it’s really really nice!”
Despite a last gasp lap from Gianmaria Bruni in the #88 Proton Competition Porsche, the Ebimotors example proved unbeatable, Bruni 18 thousandths off the best time of the session, Bruni’s fastest lap being a 1:47.511 after five laps.
Third in class and the top Ferrari was the #55 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GTE, Matt Griffin managed to come within 81 thousandths of a second off pole.
One car did not participate in the session. The #66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari 488 GTE is still in the garage for repairs after a shunt in the final Free Practice session, which has left the mechanics with some work to do. The car is expected to be ready for the race tomorrow though.