No.22 G-DRIVE RACING RUS Oreca 07 - Gibson. Memo Rojas (MEX) Ryo Hirakawa (JPN) LÇo Roussel (FRA). European Le Mans Series. Round 2, Monza May 2017. Photo: John D Stevens.

Ryo Hirakawa took the chequered flag this afternoon to win the ELMS 4 Hours of Monza for G-Drive Racing in their Oreca 07-Gibson. 

In what proved to be a frantic final 30 minutes, the Japanese driver crossed the line a mere 2.245 seconds ahead of his Dragonspeed teammates in the #21 Oreca after Ben Hanley passed Anders Fjordbach in the #49 High Class Racing Dallara in a sprint to the finish.

No 49 High Class Racing Dallara P217 – Gibson, LMP2, Dennis Andersen, Anders Fjordbach, ELMS Monza, 2017. Photo: Kelvin Pope.

With Fjordbach having to take a late ‘splash & dash’ fuel stop he returned to the track just six seconds ahead of Hanley. With two minutes remaining the charging Hanley had caught and passed Fjordbach’s Dallara to take second place.

No.19 M.RACING – YMR FRA Norma 30 – Nissan. Ricky Capo (AUS) Erwin Creed (FRA). European Le Mans Series. Round 2, Monza May 2017. Photo: John D Stevens.

In the ulta-competitive LMP3 class, M.Racing – YMR’s Ricky Capo and Erwin Creed took the top spot on the podium in their #19 Norma M30 while their team mates in the #18 Ligier took second place, recording a historic 1-2 for the French team. With the #17 Ultimate Ligier in the final podium place the podium was a reverse number run! (19, 18, 17). With their second place at the Silverstone season-opener in April the #17 Ultimate now tops the championship with a 5 point margin. 

No.17 ULTIMATE FRA Ligier JS P3 – Nissan. Jean-Baptiste Lahaye (FRA) Mathieu Lahaye (FRA) Franáois Heriau (FRA). European Le Mans Series. Round 2, Monza May 2017. Photo: John D Stevens.

And finally to the GTE class and a dream finish for Scottish squad JMW Motorsport and their Ferrari 458 Italia. In a race where the older Ferrari was, on paper, without a chance against the newer, turbocharged 488 GTE cars Jody Fannin took the chequered flag in a time of 4:02:06.201, claiming the class win by nearly 8s over the second place car in the Italia’s last ever competitive outing. The squad moves forward to Le Mans with an all-new Ferrari 488 GTE. 

Somewhat surprisingly following the cars pace in practice and qualifying, second and third spots went to the Aston Martin Vantages of TF-Sport and Beechdean respectively proving that reliability (and keeping out of trouble) are still key to a good result. 

The pole-sitting #55 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GTE of Matt Griffin, Duncan Cameron and Aaron Scott failed to finish after suffering engine problems on lap 55 leading to it’s retirement from the race. 

The Corvette of ex- AMR driver Fernando Rees and French duo Christian Philippon and Romain Brandela showed both speed an promise but a first turn incident with the #4 Cool Racing LMP3 sent them to last place from where, despite a spirited drive the team would not recover. 

No.50 LARBRE COMPETITION FRA Chevrolet Corvette C7-Z06. Christian Philippon (FRA) Romain Brandela (FRA) Fernando Rees (BRA). European Le Mans Series Round 2, Monza Italy 2017. Photo: John D Stevens.

Some of the teams now move on to Le Mans in June while the whole group will re-assemble in July at Austria’s Red Bull Ring for Round 3.