IDEC Sport’s Paul Loup Chatin ran fastest in the opening practice session of the 2018 4 Hours of the Red Bull Ring, the Frenchman in the Michelin-shod #28 ORECA 07 Gibson setting an early 1:20.067, which went unchallenged for the remainder of the session.
Norman Nato in the #24 Racing Engineering ORECA came close to the Monza Pole-winner though, setting a 1:20.070 lap, just 0.003 off his compatriot. Matthieu Vaxiviere was within a tenth too in the #33 TDS Racing ORECA, which ended the session with a 1:20.091.
The session was dominated by ORECA 07 Gibsons, the French chassis locking out the top eight positions in the 17-car LMP2 class.
The first of the other chassis was SMP Racing’s Dallara, Matevos Isaakyan setting the best time in the Russian-flagged P217, a 1:20.836, seven tenths off the fastest time set in the session.
United Autosports’ #32 car was the best of the Ligier JS P217s in the session, finishing up 10th overall, and just under a second off the ultimate pace.
It was a relatively quiet session for the LMP2 runners, the only notable incident being the #25 Algarve Pro Ligier of Taksung Kim having an off into the gravel at Turn 4 in the opening minutes of the running.
French otufit Ultimate meanwhile, topped the LMP3 class with a 1:26.927 from Matthieu Lahaye. Like LMP2, LMP3 was also tight at the top, the #3 United Autosports Ligier JS P3 ending up within a tenth in second after a 1:26.945 from Matt Bell.
The #19 M Racing YMR Norma ended up third, 0.379 back, preventing the Anglo-American squad from getting two cars in the top three, its the #2 United Autosports Ligier JS P3 claiming fourth. M Racing YMR’s Norma on the other hand, had a tougher time in the session, ending up 15th, bringing ut a Full-Course Yellow at one stage for stopping out on track.
There was trouble further down the order in the class too. The #12 Eurointernational Ligier was black flagged, and then reported to the stewards for a violation to the black flag proceedure while Andrea Dromendari was behind the wheel midway through the session. As a result, the team’s car was limited to just 11 laps.
In GTE, JMW Motorsport was the fastest team with its #66 Ferrari 488, which is now back in its traditional yellow livery after racing in white at Le Mans. Miguel Molina set the team’s fastest time, a 1:28.829, to go over half a second faster than the #88 Proton Competition Porsche which slotted in second.
Making it two Ferraris in the top three was Andrea Bertolini, the Italian lapping the 4.3km circuit in 1:29.487 in the Krohn Racing 488.
The next session for the ELMS runners is the Bronze Test later today at 17:35 local time.