Prema Racing extended their championship lead to 21 points after a dominant victory in the 4 Hours of Barcelona. After starting 7th on the grid Ferdinand Habsburg moved up the field to take the lead after 38 minutes of racing, a lead the team held until the chequered flag. Panis Racing finished second at the end of the race, with the Cool Racing taking the final podium position.
The LMP2 Pro/Am victors were the no88 AF Corse Oreca, finishing 5th overall, the third different winners in the category this season.
The LMP3 winners were Inter Europol Competition, the no13 Ligier finishing ahead of the no4 DKR Engineering Duqueine and the no17 Cool Racing Ligier.The Polish team had a nail biting last 10-minutes when they were given a 10-second penalty to be added to their race time, but Guilherme Oliveira crossed the line 15.2 seconds ahead of Sebastien Alvarez, which was reduced to 5.2 seconds with the penalty added.
The LMGTE victors were Christian Ried, Lorenzo Ferrari and Gianmaria Bruni in the no77 Proton Competition Porsche, with the team scoring their second win in a row.Bruni took the chequered flag 14.3 seconds ahead of David Perel in the no55 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488. The South African put up a spirited defence of the lead handed to him by Duncan Cameron but couldn’t hold off the rapid Italian.The no66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari finished third, with Miguel Molina crossing the line 24 seconds behind the no55 Ferrari at the end of the 4 Hours of Barcelona.
39 Cars Take the Start in Barcelona
The race got underway with the air temperature in excess of 30 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. The no19 Algarve Pro Racing Oreca of Bent Viscaal had to start from the end of the pitlane after the team failed to get the car on to the grid before the pitlane closed.
The race started with the no65 Panis Racing Oreca of Julien Canal leading the field but with Salih Yoluc in the no34 Racing Team Turkey Oreca making a bid for the lead on the run into Turn 1.Canal held his line and kept his lead, with Yoluc slotting in behind ahead of the no37 Cool Racing Oreca of Niklas Kruetten.
Further back in the field there was contact between the no83 Iron Lynx Ferrari of Sarah Bovy and the no10 Eurointernational Ligier-Nissan of Freddie Hunt, with the Ferrari spearing off into the wall at Turn 2.In a separate incident the no3 United Autosport Ligier of Jim McGuire and the no27 Cool Racing Ligier of Jean-Ludovic Foubert also collided and both cars were left damaged and stranded at the exit of Turn 3.
The Safety Car was deployed before the end of the opening lap of the race to remove the three damaged and stranded cars.After 13-minutes behind the Safety Car the race went green again.
Ferdinand Habsburg in the no9 Prema Racing Oreca had moved up from 7th to 4th and was closing on the no37 Cool Racing Oreca and the second placed no34 Racing Team Turkey Oreca.On lap 8 the no34 Oreca moved from second to fourth as Yoluc was passed by both of the chasing cars, with Habsburg moving ahead of Kruetten for second a couple of laps later.
In LMP3 Charles Crews had moved to the head of the field in the no13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier but was being challenged by the no2 United Autosports Ligier of Josh Caygill.The two cars circulated for several laps just tenths apart, but Crews was able to keep Caygill behind him, with the no17 Cool Racing Ligier of Maurice Smith a distant third.
The top four cars in the LMGTE class were fighting it out with the no77 Proton Competition Porsche leading the way.Michael Fassbender in the no93 Proton Competition Porsche moved up from third to second when the no69 Oman Racing with TF Sport Aston Martin of Ahmad Al Harthy ran wide at Turn 10 after challenging Ried for the lead, dropping the Omani driver to third place.
The two Proton Competition Porsches circulated, with Christian Ried able to open up a slight gap to his teammate while Michael Fassbender kept the rest of the LMGTE field at bay.The no66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari of Giacomo Petrobelli moved ahead of Al Harthy to move into third and then challenged Fassbender for second.For several laps this battle raged until Petrobelli went for a small gap on the exit of the chicane, tapping the Porsche into a spin and moving up to second as a consequence.The manoeuvre was penalised in the third hour of the race with a drive through penalty for the no66 Ferrari.
The no19 Algarve Pro Racing Oreca, which had started a lap down from the pitlane, was making rapid progress through the LMGTE and LMP3 field.Viscaal’s progress was interrupted when he was tapped into a spin by the no32 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari at the chicane.Viscaal rejoined as quickly as he could to resume his run, while the no32 Ferrari received a drive through penalty.
In LMP3 Charles Crews lost the lead when Josh Caygill went ahead at Turn 10 after over an hour of trying.However, the British driver’s joy was short lived as a spin allowed Crews to go back ahead and a further spin dropped Caygill’s no2 Ligier even further behind.
The no28 IDEC Sport Oreca of Paul Lafargue spun off at Turn 1 under braking, the car hitting the wall and coming to rest in the gravel trap.A Full Course Yellow was declared to recover the car, which saw many of the competitors head to the pitlane.
The race went green again after Lafargue’s car was put back on track and the French driver drove it back to the pits for repairs.
While Lorenzo Colombo was in the lead car with a 20 second lead in the no9 Prema Racing Oreca, the battle for second between the no37 Cool Racing Oreca of Nicolas Lapierre and the no65 Panis Racing Oreca of Nicolas Jamin was hotting up, the two cars circulating through traffic just a couple of tenths apart.Lapierre sustained some damage to the front of the car negotiating traffic, but he was able to continue.
In LMGTE Matt Griffin in the no55 Spirit of Race Ferrari was catching the no66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari of Giacomo Petrobelli, who was leading race after the pitstops.The no77 Proton Competition Porsche dropping back to fourth with Lorenzo Ferrari at the wheel.
There was a short 4-minute Full Course Yellow period was declared when the no14 Inter Europol Competition Ligier went off into the gravel at Turn 12.This allowed Lapierre to come in and replace the nose of the Cool Racing Oreca.He emerged in third place ahead of Tom Gamble in the no22 United Autosports Oreca.
Duncan Cameron was now at the wheel of the no55 Spirit of Race Ferrari and was catching the no66 JMW Ferrari which now had Sean Hudspeth behind the wheel.Cameron took the lead at Turn 1, going around the outside of the leading Ferrari.Hudspeth tried to retake the lead but over did the manoeuvre into Turn 7 and ran through the gravel dropping further back.He then had to serve a drive through penalty for the earlier incident with the no93 Porsche and this dropped the no66 Ferrari back to 5th and promoting the no77 Porsche into second, but 20 seconds behind Cameron’s Ferrari.
The no37 Cool Racing Oreca now had Yifei Ye in the car but the Chinese driver had to serve an extra 10 seconds at the next pitstop for an infringement on the previous visit to the pitlane.The no65 Panis Racing Oreca also had a 5 second penalty added to their pitstop and then they incurred another penalty, this time 10 seconds. This allowed the no9 Prema Racing Oreca of Louis Deletraz to pull away from the chasing pack.
The no88 AF Corse Oreca was leading the LMP2 Pro/Am category, with Alessio Rovera catching and passing the no30 Duqueine Team Oreca of Richard Bradly to finish 5th overall and two places ahead of the second placed Pro/Am car, the no24 Nielsen Racing Oreca.
The no13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier of Nicolas Pino had received several warnings for exceeding track limits and was eventually served a 10 second penalty, which would be added at the end of the race, with 10 minutes of the race remaining.Guilherme Oliveira had to make sure he finished well ahead of the chasing pack and the Portuguese driver did exactly that, with 15 seconds in hand at the chequered flag.
The no77 Proton Competition Porsche of Gianmaria Bruni was catching the no55 Spirit of Race Ferrari of David Perel.Bruni was taking nearly a second a lap and soon brought down the 20 second deficit to nothing.The Italian bided his time and swept into the lead with 23 minutes left on the clock.
The overall victory went to the no9 Prema Racing Oreca of Ferdinand Habsburg, Lorenzo Colombo and Louis Deletraz, finishing ahead of the no65 Panis Racing Oreca of Julien Canal, Nicolas Jamin and Job Van Uitert.The no37 Cool Racing Oreca of Yifei Ye took the chequered flag in third place 77 seconds behind the lead car.
The no13 Ligier of Guilherme Oliveira crossed the line 15.205 seconds ahead of the no4 DKR Engineering Duqueine, which was reduced to 5.205s when the 10 second penalty was applied.The no17 Cool Racing Ligier, which had started on pole position, finished third 1 lap behind the two cars ahead.
The no77 Proton Competition Porsche finished 14.392s ahead of the no55 Spirit of Race Ferrari, with Miguel Molina bringing the no66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari home in third 38-seconds behind the lead car.
Round 5 of the 2022 European Le Mans Series will take place in Belgium with the 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday 25 September.