Picture © Jakob Ebrey Photography
LMC - 20/07/2019 - Jeff CARTER
The no3 DKR Engineering Norma took the victory after the leading no39 Graff Norma was giving a drive through penalty for a collision with the no51 Ferrari. Once Laurents Horr hit the front he took the win over 16 seconds ahead of Colin Noble in the no2 Nielsen Racing Norma.
The no8 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 finished well ahead of the rest of the GT3 field. The no88 Ebimotors Porsche took the lead at the start but was served a drive through penalty for a jump start. Sergio Pianezzola took the lead and handed the car to Giacomo Piccini to bring the Ferrari home for their second victory of 2019.
Racing Under Blue Skies in Spain
After a false start and two formation laps the Barcelona round of the 2019 Michelin Le Mans Cup got underway with the no39 Graff Norma of Adrien Chila leading the no3 DKR Engineering Norma of François Kirmann keeping pace.
The no90 AT Racing Ligier of Alexander Talkinitsa Jnr was in third place but started to drop back. The Belarusian driver came into the pits to retire with a broken exhaust system.
The no88 Ebimotors Porsche of Alessandro Baccani leapt from 4th on the grid into the lead at the start of the race, with the no8 Kessel Racing Ferrari of Sergio Pianezzola in second and the no7 Scuderia Villorba Corse Mercedes in third. The pole sitting no35 Krypton Motorsport Mercedes got a poor start and dropped rapidly down the order.
Back at the front of the race the no3 Norma was running closely with the leading no39 Graff Norma but Kirmann was not about to get close enough to challenge for the lead of the race.
With 25 minutes of racing complete the no14 RLR M Sport Ligier spun off the track into the gravel at T9 and a Full Course Yellow was declared to allow the safe removal of the car.
The no88 Porsche was judged to have made a jump start and was served with a drive through penalty, but not before the no8 Ferrari had taken the lead at the restart.
The no30 CD Sport Norma had to head to the pitlane to repair the legality panel that had been damaged in an earlier incident.
Adrien Chila was winding his way through traffic in the no39 Graff Norma when he collided with the no51 Spirit of Race Ferrari. It was just a door to door collision and both cars were able to continue, but Chila was judged to have caused the collision and was served with a drive through penalty just before the pitstop window opened.
The no23 United Autosports Ligier spun off into the gravel at T3 and this brought out the second Full Course Yellow six minutes before the pitstop window opened. The FCY was withdrawn just as the race went green and many of the cars dived into the pitlane to hand over their cars to their teammates.
The no8 Ferrari was now being driven by Giacomo Piccini, the Italian holding a commanding lead in 10th overall. The no39 Graff Norma emerged from the pitlane with Nicolas Schatz at the wheel, the French driver still having to serve the drive through penalty for the earlier incident for the collision with the no51 Ferrari. Schatz kept the car on track and eventually was reported to the stewards for not coming into the pits to serve the penalty. The no39 Norma came in the next lap and emerged in 3rd place with the no3 DKR Engineering Norma of Laurents Hörr in the lead ahead of the no2 Nielsen Racing Norma of Colin Noble.
The no39 Norma was hit with another drive through penalty for not serving the original penalty in the specified time. This dropped Schatz back into the clutches of Wayne Boyd in the no24 United Autosports Ligier, the two drivers fighting over the final podium position for several corners before Boyd got the upper hand.
In GT3 the podium places had settled down with the no8 Ferrari out in front, with the no71 Luzich Racing Ferrari of Mikkel Mac in 2nd and the no88 Porsche of Riccardo Pera in 3rd. Pera caught and passed the Mac but was 20 seconds behind Piccini’s leading Ferrari.
Ross Gunn was lying 4th in the GT3 class with the no54 SPS Mercedes of Yannick Mettler in 5th. Gunn was faster than the no71 Ferrari and had closed the gap to within a second but then had the no55 Spirit of Race Ligier of Michele Rugolo between him and the no71 Ferrari.
The English driver could not find a way past the LMP3 class no55 Ligier and then had to contend with the no55 Mercedes trying to take 4th place away from him. Gunn defended his position until the chequered flag but could not pass the LMP3 class car.
The chequered flag came out to end the first Michelin Le Mans Cup race in Barcelona with the no3 DKR Engineering Norma of Laurents Hörr taking the victory, 16.8 seconds ahead of the no2 Nielsen Racing Norma of Colin Noble. The no24 United Autosports Ligier was third in the team’s 299th race, just 0.7 seconds ahead of the no39 Graff Norma of Nicolas Schatz.
The GT3 podium saw Sergio Pianezzola and Giacomo Piccini stand on the top step for the second time in 2019, the Italians finishing 9.2 seconds ahead of Ricardo Pera and Alessandro Baccani in the no88 Ebimotors Porsche and 31.6 seconds ahead of the no71 Luzich Racing Ferrari of Mikkel Mac and Fabien Lavergne.
CLICK HERE for the results from Round 4 in Barcelona
CLICK HERE for the championship positions after Round 4
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