European Le Mans Series 2018 - 4 Hours of Le Castellet No 28 IDEC Sport - Oreca 07/Gibson - LMP2 - Paul Lafargue/Paul Loup Chatin/Memo Rojas - © All rights reserved www.kristofvermeulen.com

IDEC Sport took pole position in Saturday’s ten minute qualifying shootout with Paul Loup Chatin setting a time of 1:41.194 on the penultimate lap of the session. Matthieu Vaxivière put the TDS ORECA onto second spot on the grid just 0.4 seconds behind Chatin. The top three positions are closed out by the #21 Dragonspeed car which set a time of 1:41.904. The first six cars were all ORECA 07 chassis’ with seventh being the #23 Ligier JSP217 of Panis-Barthez Competition.

No 23 Panis Barthez Competition, Ligier JSP217 – Gibson, LMP2, Timothé Buret, Julien Canal, William Stevens, ELMS Paul Ricard 2018

Although the Dallara chassis showed some speed during tests here earlier in the week and free practice, none of the entries shone in qualifying with the highest placed P217 being the #35 SMP Racing in ninth position. 

European Le Mans Series Round One. Circuit Paul Ricard, France. April 2018. Image: JellyBaby.Media

David Droux took the #19 M.Racing – YMR Norma M30 to its first LMP3 pole position with a 1:51.930 time on his final lap just 0.061 seconds ahead of Mathieu Lahaye in the #17 Ultimate. DKR Engineering rounded out the top three with reigning Michelin Le Mans Cup champion Alexander Toril clocking in a 1:52.104 meaning that it was an all-Norma top three. With a mere 0.174 seconds separating first to third it’s clear LMP3 will be the class to watch in 2018. 

European Le Mans Series 2018 – 4 Hours of Le Castellet. No 19 M Racing-YMR – Norma M 30/Nissan – LMP3 – Nicolas Ferrer/David Droux/Lucas Legeret. Image: JellyBaby.Media
 
Italian wonder-kid Matteo Cairoli once again starred in the GTE class, taking pole in his #88 Proton Competition Porsche in a time of 1.53.777.  Ben Barker in the #86 Gulf Racing Porsche took second place for the grid tomorrow, 0.209 seconds behind the Italian. Third place went to Miguel Molina in the #66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari almost a second off the pace of the quickest of the Porsches. 
 
European Le Mans Series Round 1. Circuit Paul Ricard, France. April 2018. Image: JellyBaby.Media