Michelin Le Mans Cup had a scorching hot fourth round of the 2019 championship at Circuit de Catalunya.
They would drive from 13 to 15, where the temperature was about 30 degrees and sunshine from a cloudless sky.
Graff #39 with Adrien Chila and Nicolas Schatz had taken Pole Position in LMP3 ahead of DKR Engineering #3 and Nielsen Racing #2.
Christian Stubbe Olsen and teammate James Dayson in RLR MSport #14 would start the race from P13, while KEO Racing #43 with Johan Jokinen and Alain Costa started from seventeenth position.
In the GT3 class it was Krypton Motorsport Mercedes #35 with Marco Zanuttini and Stefano Pezzucchi on Pole, in front of Kessel Racing Ferrari #8 and Luzich Racing Ferrari #71 with Mikkel Mac behind the wheel.
The start was a little chaotic as the car didn’t line up correctly. It caused a bit of panic through the field, but luckily there were no collision that you sometimes see when the start gets interrupted.
The next attempt went much better and everyone off to go.
It later showed that CD Sport #30 had a bit of contact by having a part to hang behind the car.
Grainmarket Racing #20 and Kessel Racing #8 had a contact with each other and spun around, but luckily nobody got hit by another car.
AT Racing #90 had a really good start and came up from fifth to third place.
Unfortunately #90 had to pit and later retire after only fifteen minutes due to technical problems. What a shame after such a good start.
United Autosports #23 had a spin but they managed to avoid getting hit.
RLR MSport #14 had a tour on the gravel in Turn 9, where James Dayson got stuck, and the race director decided to switch to Full Course Yellow in order to pull him free.
Ebimotors Porsche #88 had a good progress in the GT3 field, but when the race got restarted, it took them a while to come up to speed, and they got passed by Kessel Racing Ferrari #8.
Krypton Motorsport Mercedes #35 didn’t have a good start and fell further back in the GT3 field. Slowly but surely, they drove themselves up and were back in top 5 before the obligatory pitstop.
The damages on CD Sport #30 was getting too severe that they had to pit to fix the hanging part.
Spirit of Race Ferrari #55 and Graff #39 had a collision on the track, which sent #55 out in a spin.
Cool Racing #4 had a little off-track moment, but they quickly got back on the right surface.
But United Autosports #23 didn’t. Rob Hodes sat deep in the gravel and had some contact with the barrier. Hodes spun three times before ending up in the gravel.
It called for the second FCY period of the day, where all the cars had to slow down to 80 kph.
Right beefore that, Cool Racing #96 also had a solo spin in the last corner, minus the dramatic impact.
Ebimotors #88 was a bit too quick on the gas when the race got restarted, and they got a pitstop penalty for the offence.
Graff #39 had been dominant in the lead, but an earlier collision with #51 followed by a drive-through penalty took all their chance of winning the race. It only went worse for them when they got another drive-through penalty for not taking the first one correctly.
RLR MSport #14 also got a drive-through, but it was for speeding in the pitlane.
Cool Racing #4 was in spinning mood and did yet another spin on the track.
It wasn’t only Graff #39 that caught the stewards’ attention. #9 got a one-second Stop & Go penalty for not respecting the minimum pitstop time.
Ebimotors Porsche #88 drove themselves up the field again, by overtaking Mikkel Mac in Luzich Racing Ferrari #71 for second place.
Scuderia Villorba Corse Mercedes #7 got passed by Beechdean AMR #99 in the duel for fourth place in the GT3 class.
Olsen in RLR MSport #14 had a small collision with Krypton Motorsport Mercedes #35, but both cars could continue.
Graff #9 had a solo spin when Adrien Trouillet outbraked himself at the end of the back straight.
Scuderia Villorba Corse Mercedes #7 got a ten-second penalty for not following the rules in Turn 1, in the case of outbraking. It didn’t mean anything since they already second to last in GT3 anyway.
Racing Experience #11 and Cool Racing #74 fought until the chequered flag, but #11 won that duel for P6.
After two full hours, DKR Engineering #3 with Laurents Hörr and Francois Kirmann won the race, ahead of Nielsen Racing #2 with Tony Wells and Colin Noble, and United Autosports #24 with Wayne Boyd and Mike Guasch.
The GT3 class was won by Kessel Racing #8 with Sergio Pianezzola and Giacomo Piccini, followed by Ebimotors Porsche #88 with Riccardo Pera and Alessandro Baccani, and Luzich Racing Ferrari #71 with Mikkel Mac and Fabien Lavergne.
Johan Jokinen and Alain Costa in KEO Racing #43 finished the race in P14 amongst the LMP3 cars, after having to do an extra pitstop, while Christian Stubbe Olsen and James Dayton finished fifteenth for RLR MSport #14.
DKR Engineering #3 has taken the lead in the LMP3 championship, while the unfortunate Lanan Racing #25 is down to second place. Nielsen Racing #2 is in third place, only 22 points from the leader. So if #3 didn’t score any point next time – like #25 did today – everything can change again.
Luzich Racing #71 with Mikkel Mac and Fabien Lavergne still leads the GT3 championship, but Kessel Racing #8 is getting significantly closer. While Spirit of Race Ferrari #51 and Beechdean AMR have the same amount of points, but they’re so far behind that the two in front has to retire at least once for them to have a chance to win the championship. But on the other hand, there is a good battle for third place.
It was the ending to a short yet hectic Friday and Saturday for Michelin Le Mans Cup. But not everyone is done working and can head to the beach. European Le Mans Series race will be run later today, and some of the drivers will already be in action again.
The next round of Michelin Le Mans Cup will be run in two months’ time at Spa Francorchamps on 20 and 21 September. The LMC teams won’t be participating in the ELMS weekend at Silverstone, since FIA WEC will also be there.