Sunshine this morning in Monza, when the first practice session for the 4 Hour race later this weekend got underway. A few incidents were to be noted in the first 90 minute session of the weekend, all without major damage. 3 Full course yellows had to be brought out when the Highclass Oreca and Cetilar Dallara stopped out on track, and the 360 Racing Ligier lost a wheel. The session was red flagged just before the end when the #35 BHK Motorsport and the #26 G-Drive of Job Van Uitert collided and had to be recovered. Damiano Fioravanti in the #10 Oregon Team Norma set a new track record in the LMP3 class.
Norman Nato set the pace this morning with the #26 G-Drive Aurus 01 in 1.36.243, an average speed of 216,7 km/h around the 5.793 meter long track in Monza. Nato beat Paul Loup Chatin in the #28 IDEC Sport Oreca with 0.276 seconds. Nico Lapierre made it an all French and Oreca top three in his #37 Cool Racing Oreca, going round in 1.36.884.
Quickest of the non Oreca cars was Ben Barnicoat in the #45 Carlin Dallara P217, just under a second slower than the leading Aurus 01 (1.37.156). No real surprise there as the high speed Monza track suits the Dallaras very well, as the Norma’s in LMP3. Barnicoat was followed by 2 more Orecas; the #21 Dragonspeed of Renger Van Der Zande and the #30 Duqueine Engineering driven by Nicolas Jamin. Alex Brundle was the fastest Ligier driver, putting his #32 United Autosports on seventh place in 1.37.173.
The #47 Cetilar Racing Dallara, which makes its sole appearance in the ELMS the season before moving over to the FIA WEC, finished 14th fastest, it’s quickest lap set by Andrea Belicchi. Belicchi did the most laps in the session, setting up the car for the rest of the weekend, Roberto Lacorte only managing 3 laps this morning, and Giorgio Sernagiotto not completing one single lap in the Dallara.
As expected on the high speed Monza track, the Norma’s dominated the morning session, taking up the first 4 spots after 90 minutes of practice.
Damiano Fioravanti – who was quickest all weekend at Le Castellet – put his #10 Oregon Team Norma M30 on top again with a time of 1.44.908, a new lap record in the LMP3 class. Colin Noble followed swiftly in the #7 Nielsen Racing, only 0.080 seconds slower than the Italian. Rounding out the top thee was Swiss driver Lucas Legeret in the #19 M.Racing, 0.134 seconds behind the leading car.
David Droux in the #9 Realteam Racing completed Norma’s top 4 sweep, just under half a second slower than Fioravanti. Mikkel Jensen was the best of the Ligier drivers, finishing fifth fastest in the #11 Eurointernational, followed by the #17 Ultimate Norma of Matthieu Lahaye.
Jörg Bergmeister set the pace in the LMGTE class, with a 1.48.075 in the #56 Team Project 1 Porsche. Matteo Cressoni in the #66 JMW Ferrari was second quickest (1.48.290), just ahead of Matteo Cairoli in the single Dempsey Proton Porsche which will be on the grid this weekend. Rounding out the top 5 were Andrea Piccini in the #60 Kessel Racing Ferrari and Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #51 Luzich Racing Ferrari who carries 30kg of succes ballast with him.
BRONZE DRIVER TEST
In the bronze driver session this afternoon it was Alexander Coigny in the #37 Cool Racing Oreca who was fastest in 1.38.630.
Henrik Hedman in the #21 Dragonspeed Oreca (1.38.836) and John Farano in the #43 RLR Sport (1.39.813) completed the top 3. Roberto Lacorte in the #47 Cetilar Dallara was the quickest non Oreca in fourth place, Erik Maris in the #27 IDEC Sport the fastest Ligier in 8th position.
Oregon Team topped the LMP3 time sheets again, now with Lorenzo Bontempelli behind the wheel, with a personal best of 1.46.963.
Another Norma was second fastest: the #17 Ultimate of François Heriau (1.48.103), followed by Jens Petersen in the #11 Eurointernational Ligier. James Dayson (360 Racing) and Anthony Wells (Nielsen Racing) completed the top 5.
Egidio Perfetti was the fastest bronze driver in GTE, putting his #56 Team Project 1 on top (1.49.119). Fabien Lavergne followed close in the #51 Luzich Racing Ferrari (+ 0.080 seconds), with the #60 Kessel Racing Ferrari of Sergio Pianezzola behind him.
On track action for the 4 Hours of Monza will resume tomorrow morning at 09.00h for the second practice session. Qualifying will be run from 13h40 onwards.