Spa ELMS: Dragonspeed upsets Team WRT to take maiden win
The #21 Dragonspeed crew of Nicolas Lapierre, Ben Hanley and Henrik Hedman claimed their maiden ELMS win at 4 Hours of Spa, after a late charge by their star French driver.
The #38 G-Drive Gibson had emerged as the comfortable leader in the first quarter of the race, having pitted under the first VSC.
But two separate safety car periods that followed changed the complexion of the race.
Firstly, #48 Murphy Prototypes’ Garry Findlay crashed in the downhill stretch after the Bruxelles corner, necessitating a barrier repair.
Not long after the race resumed, Remy Striebig lost his #29 Pegasus Morgan in similar fashion, leading to an even longer safety car period.
The #47 Team WRT pitted just as the second safety car arrived into the scene - having made its first stop under the earlier VSC - to gain a significant advantage over the rest of the field.
The #38 G-Drive and the championship-leading squad of #46 Thiriet by TDS squad only stopped after the safety car came into the pits, dropping them well down the order in fifth and sixth places.
The two title contenders teams then indulged in a battle of their own - something SMP’s Stefano Coletti took advantage to gain two positions in one corner.
Coletti’s charge continued until he was forced to pit in the final hour due to a non-functioning headlight. Although the mechanics were able to fix the issue without changing the nose, the Monegasque driver lost four places in the process.
Heading into the final hour, the #47 Team WRT appeared to take a sure-shot victory on debut, only for Dragonspeed to spoil the party.
On a fresh set of tyres, Lapierre started charging in the Oreca 05, passing Team WRT’s Laurens Vanthoor to take the win.
The victory was made all the more impressive by the fact that Dragonspeed was handed a five-second penalty for overtaking under the safety car.
Meanwhile, Thiriet by TDS’s Mathias Beche banged wheels with the #25 Algarve’s Andrea Pizzitola in the final five minutes of the race, Pizzitola's Ligier spinning and getting beached in the gravel.
While Beche went on to secure the final spot on the podium to extend his team’s championship lead, the Algarve squad retired from their final ELMS race of the season.
The #41 Greaves finished fourth, while the G-Drive squad was classified fifth after a late splash and dash to make the chequered flag.
LMP3: Brundle/England/Guasch of United Autosports win title
In the LMP3 class, the #9 Graff Racing trio of Paul Petit, Eric Trouillet and Enzo Guibbert came on top, despite being handed a time-penalty for infringing the pit stop procedure.
Behind, Tockwith Motorsport’s Philip Hanson ran wide with 30 minutes to go, promoting the two United Autosports Ligiers onto podium places. The #2 of Alex Brundle, Christian England and Mike Guasch led home the sister #3 machine to clinch the title with one round to spare..
JMW Motorsport cruises to GTE win
Much like LMP2, the result of the GTE class was determined by strategy with the #66 JMW Motorsport taking its third straight win of the season.
Porsche returned to the podium, with the #88 Proton crew finishing second. The #55 AF Corse completed the podium.
Spa ELMS: Lapierre delivers pole for Dragonspeed
Team WRT second at Spa in rollercoaster ELMS debut