G-Drive Racing, United Autosports and Gulf Racing Lead ELMS FP1 at Silverstone
Round four of the 2018 European Le Mans Series kicked off today with the championship leaders, G-Drive Racing, topping the times in the first free practice session.
Round four of six of the ELMS this year finds the series in Northamptonshire - the 4 Hours of Silverstone. Until recently, this was the opening round of the championship, but the switch to an August date is a welcome change as Silverstone turns a slightly warmer shade of grey. While we can't learn much from the first free practice session, this is an excellent opportunity to summarise the championship so far!
Coming into the weekend, the championship leaders are Jean-Eric Vergne, Andrea Pizzitola and Roman Rusinov in the #26 G-Drive Racing. The Russian team has had a great start to the season, winning at Monza and the Red Bull Ring, putting them nine points clear of the #24 Racing Engineering crew. Third in the championship currently belongs to TDS Racing who are not participating in the 4 Hours of Silverstone.
Unsurprisingly, G-Drive also finished the first session at the top of the times with a 1.46:287, ahead of Henrik Hedman, Ben Hanley and Nicolas Lapierre in the #21 Dragonspeed. APR - Rebellion Racing round out an all-Oreca top three, with Harrison Newey, Ryan Cullen and Gustavo Menezes setting a fastest time of 1:47.072.
After half a season, it's interesting to note that last year's LMP3 champions, United Autosports don't feature in the championship top three. The Yorkshire based squad find themselves fifth in the points standings with the #3 car, while the sister car is just 1.5 points down putting the #2 crew 8th. Top of the LMP3 tables, however, is British team, RLR Motorsport. A similar story to LMP2, the #15 team have won two of the three opening rounds. However, a poor result at Monza means they're only 4.5 points ahead of EuroInternational in second place.
It was United Autosports who came out on top during FP1 - with both cars taking the top spots. The #3 crew of Tony Wells, Garret Grist and Matt Bell edging out the sister car by around a tenth to take the top spot. Christian Olsen, Colin Noble and Alex Kapadia in the Ecurie Ecosse/Nielsen entered Ligier finished third fastest.
Things are a little more scattered in LMGTE, having had three winners from three races: Proton Competition, Ebimotors and JMW Motorsport. It's Proton that find themselves at the top of the pile though, eight points clear of fellow Porsche runners, Ebimotors.
It was a Porsche that ran fastest in FP1 but not the championship leaders. The familiar blue and orange Gulf Porsche in the hands of Michael Wainwright, Ben Barker and Alexander Davison put in a 2:00.345 to finish ahead of the #77 Proton Competition Porsche and the #66 JMW Ferrari.
FP2 starts later on today (Friday 17th) at 14.45.
This article was originally published on Overtake Motorsport.
Shared with permission from the author.
Cover Image: ELMS/Jakob Ebrey Photography