After five years of trying, French team Panis Racing took their debut ELMS victory in style at the end of a dramatic 4 Hours of Monza.
Will Stevens brought the no65 Oreca-Gibson home, taking the chequered flag 5 seconds ahead of Tom Gamble in the no22 United Autosports Oreca and was joined on the top step of the Monza podium by teammates Julien Canal and James Allen.
The no25 G-Drive Racing crew of John Falb, Rui Andrade and Roberto Merhi scored their second victory of the season in the LMP2 Pro-Am category, finishing 6th overall from a lowly 14th on the grid at the start of the race.
- Roman Rusinov in the no26 G-Drive Racing Aurus-Gibson led the 42-car field into T1 for the first time ahead of the no22 United Autosports Oreca of Phil Hanson.
- There was contact between the no21 DragonSpeed USA Oreca of Hendrik Hedman and the no24 Algarve Pro Racing Oreca of Richard Bradley at T1, spinning both cars around and forcing several cars behind them to take avoiding action.
- The top 3 cars – no26 G-Drive Racing, no22 United Autosports and the no41 Orlen Team WRT Oreca (Yifei Ye) were battling for the podium positions and split by less than one second. They were soon joined by the no92 Racing Team Nederland Oreca of Giedo Van Der Garde.
- ·Further back Julien Canal in the no65 Panis Racing Oreca was fighting for position with the no34 Racing Team Turkey Oreca driven by Salih Yoluc. The French driver tried to overtake at the first chicane but had to take to the escape road, which put him ahead of Yoluc’s Oreca. The French driver slowed down to give the place back so as to avoid a penalty but was soon back ahead on the next lap.
- Salih Yoluc incurred a stop and go penalty for dangerous driving for an incident involving the no24 Algarve Pro Racing Oreca.
- On lap 20, after 33 minutes of racing, Phil Hanson overtook Roman Rusinov at T1 to take the lead. A lap later Rusinov dropped to 3rd as the no41 Oreca got ahead.
- The no28 Idec Sport Oreca of Patrick Pilet was moving up through the field and was challenging Giedo Van Der Garde for 4th.
- With 40 minutes of racing completed the no77 Proton Competition Porsche spun off into the gravel trap and the United Autosports crew called Phil Hanson in for a pitstop just before the Safety Car was deployed to retrieve the beached Porsche.Several other cars also came into the pits before the Safety Car period was declared, including the no65 Panis Racing Oreca.
- With the pitlane closed for three laps and with fuel tanks nearly empty, several cars, including the no41 Team WRT Oreca, had to make a stop for an emergency 5 second fuel stop, which put the no26 G-Drive Racing Aurus back in the front of the field.
- As the Safety Car switch its lights off as the train of cars approached Parabolica, the no26 Aurus started to slow down, with Rusinov weaving to try and get fuel to his engine. The Aurus stopped on the run into the pits just in front of teammate Richard Bradley in the no24 Oreca, the British driver deciding to give the no26 car a push to the pitbox. This incurred a 5 second penalty for both cars, which was added at the next pitstop.
- The race went green with Phil Hanson, six seconds ahead of Julien Canal, the BHK Motorsport Oreca of Sergio Campana running in third, 40 seconds ahead of Esteban Garcia in the no70 Realteam Racing Oreca.
- At 90 minutes another car went off into the gravel, which brought out the first Full Course Yellow period.Both the no22 United Autosport Oreca and the no65 Panis Racing Oreca pitted, with the no65 Oreca of James Allen emerging ahead of Jonathan Aberdein in the no22.
- Another FCY followed after 105 minutes of racing when a piece of debris was lying in the middle of the track on the exit of the last corner. This was quickly recovered by a marshal and racing resumed.
- On lap 57 Franco Colapinto set the fastest lap of the race in the no26 G-Drive Racing Aurus with a lap time of 1m39.861, but the Argentine was well down the order after the car ran out of fuel earlier in the race.
- After the next stops Will Stevens took over the no65 Panis Racing Oreca and was 10 seconds ahead of Tom Gamble in the no22 United Autosports Oreca.Gamble started to close the gap, which came down to less than 5 seconds before the final stops.
- The no22 Oreca went off the circuit at T7 after Gamble was forced to take avoiding action to miss hitting the no6 Nielsen Racing Ligier. Gamble kept his foot on the accelerator and regained the track without losing too much time, but this allowed Stevens to pull away slightly. This brought out the third and final FCY to recover the no6 Ligier.
- The race restarted with 30 minutes left on the clock and Will Stevens held a 10 second lead over the no22, with the no82 JOTA Oreca of Jazeman Jaafar in third 30 seconds behind the leader.
- Tom Gamble once again started to close the gap to the leader as Jazeman came under pressure from the no41 OrlenTeam WRT Oreca of Louis Deletraz.
- While the gap closed down to under three seconds, Will Stevens kept his cool and took the chequered flag to claim a deserved and long awaited ELMS victory.The no22 United Autosports Oreca was second with the no82 JOTA Oreca in third, 7.3 seconds ahead of the no41 Orlen Team WRT Oreca.
- ·Roberto Merhi brought the no25 G-Drive Racing Aurus home in 6th overall to claim the LMP2 Pro-Am victory after a long battle with Charlie Eastwood in the no34 Racing Team Turkey Oreca, which finished 7.3 seconds behind the Spanish driver in 7th overall.The no29 Ultimate Oreca took the final Pro-Am podium position in 11th overall after a great battle with no37 Cool Racing Oreca.
CLICK HERE for the result from the 4 Hours of Monza.
It was all smiles in the garage of the no55 Spirit of Race Ferrari as Duncan Cameron, Alessandro Pier Guidi and David Perel celebrated their first win of the 2021 season.
Perel had to fend off a determined challenge by Ferrari factory driver Miguel Molina in the no80 Iron Lynx Ferrari for the last hour of the race, with Perel crossing the line just 2 seconds ahead of the Spaniard. The no88 AF Corse Ferrari completed the LMGTE podium at Monza.
- Duncan Cameron led the LMGTE competitors into Turn 1 at the start of the 4 Hours of Monza.
- The British driver held onto his lead despite a determined challenge from François Perrodo in the no88 AF Corse Ferrari and the no77 Proton Competition Porsche of Christian Ried.
- Rino Mastronardi in the no80 Iron Lynx Ferrari was making progress up from the back of the grid and by lap 5 had passed Ried for third place.
- On the same lap Francois Perrodo had moved into the lead ahead of Duncan Cameron, with the British driver dropping behind Mastronardi a lap later.
- Mastronardi closed the gap to the leader, with Perrodo taking to the escape road at T3 allowing the no80 Ferrari into the lead.
- A Safety Car was deployed after 40-minutes of racing when the no77 Porsche ended up beached in the gravel at T7, the car quickly recovered and returned to the track by the marshals, where Christian Ried was able to return to the pits.
- When racing resumed Rino Mastronardi was still leading from François Perrodo and Duncan Cameron, with the no66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari of Rodrigo Sales in 4th.
- At the next pitstops the no80 and no88 Ferraris came into the pits together, with Perrodo regaining the track ahead of Mastronardi.
- The no60 Iron Lynx Ferrari of Claudio Schiavoni was leading with John Hartshorne in the no95 TF Sport Aston Martin in 2nd and the no83 Iron Lynx Ferrari in 3rd.The former leading duo soon caught and passed the cars ahead of them with Mastronardi going back ahead of Perrodo on the exit of Parabolica after 100 minutes of racing.
- The first FCY period saw the cars stay out with Rino Mastronardi ahead of Claudio Schiavoni at the restart, with Francois Perrodo soon getting up to second.Duncan Cameron had recovered to finish his stint in third.
- 488 GTE and Alessandro Pier Guidi in the no55 Spirit of Race Ferrari.
- The no95 TF Sport Aston Martin then suffered a puncture to the rear left tyre forcing Ollie Hancock to recover the car slowly to the pits.
- With 90 minutes of racing remaining the no55 Ferrari moved into second place, Pier Guidi getting ahead of Collard.
- After the next set of pitstops with just over an hour to go, David Perel was leading in the no55 Ferrari, just a few seconds ahead of the no80 Iron Lynx 488 of Miguel Molina.Molina closed the gap and started to challenge the South African for the lead.The two circulated for lap after lap less than 0.5 seconds apart and 5 seconds ahead of the no60 Iron Lynx Ferrari of Giorgio Sernagiotto, who had Alessio Rovera in the no88 Ferrari bearing down on him.
- The third and final FCY saw the leaders head to the pitlane, emerging in the same order with 30 minutes of the race remaining.
- While the no55 and no80 Ferraris were separated by less than a second the no88 AF Corse Ferrari was 12 seconds behind in 3rd spot.
- Perel and Molina were fighting for the lead, with Perel keeping his position as best he could.Traffic then allowed him to open up a small gap as the last 10 minutes of the race was shown on the clock.
- At the chequered flag the no55 Spirit of Race Ferrari crossed the line 2.8 seconds ahead of the no80 Iron Lynx Ferrari to claim the team’s first win and fourth podium of the 2021 season. The no88 AF Corse Ferrari crossed the line 5.5 seconds behind the no80 488.
After scoring the team first even ELMS victory at Le Castellet, the no4 DKR Engineering Duqueine-Nissan took the chequered flag to record a second win in a row at the end of the 4 Hours of Monza.
Reigning Michelin Le Mans Cup champion Laurents Horr was joined by 17-year-old French driver Mathieu de Barbuat, who was making his ELMS debut in Monza in only his second ever race in a car.
The no4 Duqueine took the chequered flag 21 seconds ahead of the no2 United Autosports Ligier of reigning champion Wayne Boyd, with the no13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier taking the final podium position 26 seconds behind the second placed car.
- Mathieu de Barbuat was at the head of the LMP3 grid at the start of the 4 Hours of Monza but was passed by the no13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier of Martin Hippe at the start.
- The no9 Graff Ligier of Rory Pentinnen spun at Ascari on the opening lap with a rear left puncture. The Finn was able to recover the car to the pits, but the bodywork damage incurred by the flailing rubber meant a longer than usual stop to repair.
- The top three cars – no13 Ligier, no4 Duqueine and no2 Ligier (Rob Wheldon) were fighting for the lead and, like the LMP2 front runners, were split by less than a second for several laps.
- De Barbuat held of the challenge from 2020 LMP3 champion Rob Wheldon until lap 11 when the British driver got past to claim second spot a T3.
- The race leader Martin Hippe then had the no2 Ligier filling his mirrors for the next 20 minutes before the Safety Car was deployed to recover the no77 Porsche that was beached in the gravel at T7.
- After the 17-minute Safety Car the race resumed with Wheldon now ahead of Hippe after the pitstops. The no2 United Autosports Ligier was able to pull away from the rest of the field, opening up a 10 second gap to the no15 RLR Msport Ligier of Mike Benham.
- The no8 Graff Ligier of Sebastien Page spun off into the gravel at Ascari bringing out the first of three Full Course Yellow periods to recover the car.
- The no2 Ligier pitted which put the no15 RLR MSport entry into the lead before Benham headed to the pitlane himself until the second of the FCY periods to recover debris at the final corner.
- This put the no13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier back into the lead with Mattia Pasini behind the wheel with the no4 DKR Engineering entry of Laurents Hörr in second place and Charles Crews in the no20 Team Virage Ligier in third spot.
- With an hour left on the clock Ugo De Wilde was leading by 22 seconds over the no4 Duqueine of Laurents Hörr.
- The no6 Nielsen Racing Ligier of Austin McCusker clashed with the no4 Duqueine at T7, with McCusker receiving a Black and White warning flag from the Race Director.
- The third FCY period was declared to recover the no6 Ligier, with Laurents Hörr heading into the pits to hand the car back to Mathieu de Barbuat.This handed the advantage back to the Luxembourg team as the no13 Ligier was still circulating at low speed.
- The race went back to green before De Wilde could pit and the Belgian driver rejoined the track in 4th, with the no2 Ligier of Wayne Boyd in 2nd and the no19 Cool Racing Ligier of Niklas Kruetten in 3rd.
- Kruetten and De Wilde battled for the last podium position, with the Belgian eventually getting the upperhand to take the place just before the chequered flag.