British teams took top spots in the LMP3 and GT3 classes in the Michelin Le Mans Cup today as Nielsen Racing took the maiden victory of the new LMP3 era and Lee Mowle took a surprise win in GT3.
In a race peppered with incidents and penalties, Jean Glorieux led from Pole Position in the #3 DKR Engineering Norma M30 until the pit stops when a slow stop cost them the lead and a subsequent drive-through and additional stop/go penalty sealed the Luxembourg team’s fate.
The race saw the safety car deployed early on as the #43 KEO Racing Ligier of Mori Yoshiharu collided with the #5 RAM Racing Mercedes of Ramon Vos; the Mercedes managed to limp back to the pits before being retired with damage to the left rear while Yoshiharu’s LMP3 car was stranded on track.
At the restart, Alex Kapadia in the #14 RLR M Sport Ligier carved his way through the pack from 14th on the grid to second by lap 12, snapping at the heels of Glorieux in #3 DKR Engineering Norma.
Flick Haigh took the advantage to move into the class lead in the #75 Optimum Racing Audi GT3, keeping the #46 Ebimotors Lamborghini at bay and an apparently faultless pit stop by the team saw Joe Osborne take the wheel continuing with the class lead, ahead of Phil Keen in the #7 Lee Mowle Mercedes AMG.
Penalties abound were issued following the pitstops, the majority for speeding in the pitlane (cars 3, 33, 53, 98), #99 claimed a drive-through for overtaking the #44 SPV MotorSport car under waved yellows, #3 then got an additional stop/go (with engine off) for using an external source to start the car in the previous stop and with six minutes remaining, Osbourne in the #75 Audi is handed a drive-through for a pit stop infringement, dropping the team to third overall.
At the flag, Colin Noble took the win for the #79 Nielsen Racing Ligier with Phil Keen bringing the fire-damaged but rebuilt #7 Lee Mowle Mercedes in for a totally unexpected GT3 class win.