IDEC Sport’s Paul-Loup Chatin won the overall pole for Sunday’s European Le Mans Series 4 Hours of the Red Bull Racing at the absolute last minute Saturday (July 21). Chatin’s lap of 121.884 mph gives IDEC Sport their second ELMS pole of the season and third overall.
“I am really pleased. The team did a great, great job,” Chatin said after the session. “We have the perfect combination with the ORECA chassis and Michelin tires.”
Chatin’s lap was a mere two-hundredths of a second faster than Duqueine Engineering’s Nicolas Jamin in a similar ORECA 07-Gibson to Chatin’s. Racing Engineering’s Norman Nato qualified third quickest, followed by DragonSpeed’s Nicolas Lapierre. G-Drive Racing’s Andrea Pizzitola was fifth, just over three-tenths of a second off of pole.
The top six drivers in qualifying were in ORECA 07 chassis. The best non-ORECA car in the field is United Autosports’ No. 22 Ligier JS P217-Gibson driven by IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship regular Filipe Albuquerque. Albuquerque will start seventh. The best Dallara P217 was the Cetilar Villorba Corse No. 47 driven by Felipe Nasr in 10th.
There were two incidents of note during the 10-minute session. AVF by Adrián Vallés’ Konstantin Tereschenko went off at the Schlossgold turn and slid through the gravel trap before continuing. He will start 13th on Sunday.
In a somewhat unusual circumstance, High Class Racing’s Anders Fjordbach lost his right front wheel exiting the pits at the beginning of the session.
Fjordbach was able to drive his car back to the pits on three wheels. It was determined that the wheel nut simply came off. A replacement wheel was affixed to the Dallara P217, then Fjordbach went back out on track. He would eventually qualify 15th. The wheel actually followed the car into a portion of the course used for an alternate layout, then rolled around for a couple of minutes before coming to rest.
In LMP3, AT Racing’s Mikkel Jensen claimed the class pole in his Ligier JS P3-Nissan with a lap at 111.781 mph. The lap was one-tenth of a second faster than Matthieu Lahaye in the Ultimate Norma M30-Nissan. Lahaye tried to improve his time late in the session, but spun out exiting the Castrol Edge turn at the end of the pit straight.
In GTE, JMW Motorsport’s Miguel Molina, fresh off of a victory in Pirelli World Challenge last weekend at Portland International Raceway, won the class pole with a lap at 108.737 mph in his Ferrari 488 GTE. Molina’s lap was one-tenth of a second faster than Proton Competition’s Matteo Cairoli. Krohn Racing’s Andrea Bertolini was third quickest.
The 4 Hours of the Red Bull Ring is scheduled to start Sunday morning at 6 a.m. EDT. The race will be streamed live at EuropeanLeMansSeries.com and on YouTube. It will also be made available to subscribers to MotorTrend.com.