On track action kicked off at the Autodromo Internazionale Monza today for the second race in the 2018 European Le Mans Series. Despite the rainy weather forecast that was published in the past days, the sun came out over the track with temperatures up to 26 degrees. A welcome change compared to the conditions at Le Castellet for the prologue and first race last month.
Just one noteable incident in today’s 90 minute session when the #25 Algarve Pro Racing ligier got stuck into the gravel trap at the outside of the second Lesmo. During a short full course yellow, the car was towed out and able to continue its way.
Ben Hanley in the #21 Dragonspeed Oreca set the fastest time in the first free practice session for the 4 Hours of Monza. Hanley’s quickest lap of 1.36.284 round the 5,793 km Italian track was 0.695 seconds faster than Roman Rusinov in his #26 G-Drive Racing Oreca07. Third fastest and first non-Oreca chassis was the #49 Dallara of High Class Racing with Anders Fjordbach at the wheel for a lap of 1.37.275, just under a second behind Hanley.
Le Castellet winners Racing Engineering were fourth fastest with Olivier Pla in 1.37.404. Felipe Nasr in the #49 Cetilar Villorba Corse Dallara debuted in the European Le Mans Series with the fifth time this morning, just in front of the first Ligier of Timothé Buret in the #23 Panis-Barthez Competition.
In LMP3, the Norma’s of Oregon Team, M.Racing-YMR and Ultimate outpaced the Ligiers in today’s free practice sessions. Riccardo Ponzio in the colourful #10 Oregon Team Norma M30 was quickest overall with a laptime of 1.46.136. David Droux in the #19 M.Racing-YMR Norma followed close, just 0.107 seconds behind in last year’s winning car. Third fastest was Matthieu Lahaye in the #17 Ultimate Norma. Quickest of the Ligiers was last years ELMS champion Sean Rayhall in the #2 United Autosports, just over half a second slower than Ponzio.
Proton Competition was quickest in the LMGTE class, with Gimmi Bruni in the #88 Porsche 911 RSR. Bruni set a time of 1.48.457, just under half a second quicker than Andrea Bertolini in the #83 Krohn Racing Ferrari F488 GTE. Miguel Molina continued on his good form from Le Castellet last month to set the third fastest time in 1.49.026.
Earlier this morning, all 121 drivers competing in the 4 Hours of Monza gathered for the annual family photo.
This should have been taken last month in Le Castellet but the rain forced to cancel the photoshoot back then. Luckily the weather gods were in a good mood this morning, bathing the track in sunshine instead of the predicted rain showers.