Ecurie Ecosse takes double victory in Donington LMP3 bout


Ecurie Ecosse with Nielsen Racing secured a sweep of the two LMP3 Cup Championship races at Donington Park to gain an early leg up in the standings.

Driving a Ligier JSP3-Nissan, Alasdair McCaig and Colin Noble beat the United Autosports pair of Matt Bell and Tony Wells by 4.554 seconds in a closely-fought one hour contest on Sunday.

McCaig started from the third row of the grid before moving the car up to third position with a quick driver change on lap 24.

Noble then set the fastest lap on his way to passing the pair of United Autosports Ligier JSP3s of Andrew Evans and Matt Bell, which put him into the lead.

Bell continued in pursuit but was unable to match the pace of the same Ecurie car that also won the race on Saturday afternoon.

Evans (sharing with Christian England) was on course to follow up in third, but the United driver spun at the old hairpin with four minutes to go.

That promoted the Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP3 of Richard Dean and Sarah Moore to the third podium spot, with Evans unable to restart his car and so registering as a DNF.

Fourth place went to Steve Tandy and Karun Chandhok in their T-Sport Ligier, ahead of Jack Butel and Dean Gibbs.

Following the race, Noble commended his team’s performance on its first LMP3 outing, with the opening round of the continental Michelin Le Mans Cup now next in line.

“Alasdair did a great job and gained positions, so that definitely made the job easier for me,” he said.

“Then I had the two United cars to chase down and our pace was great, much stronger than there pace, so we managed to pull half a second a lap.”

“I didn’t have to over-drive the car, it was quite nice and easy to drive…. I got the passes completed on the back straight each time, just getting a good exit from Coppice and then dragging them down the straight and into the chicane.”

“Now I look forward to [the Michelin Le Mans Cup round at] Monza – a different teammate – but the same car and hopefully we’ll be as quick there too.”

The race was truncated by a pair of brief safety car periods for separate incidents.

The first, caused by pole-sitter Paul Bailey, came after eight minutes when the G-Cat Racing Ligier spun off at Redgate, allowing the United Autosports cars to pass for the lead.

Another stoppage occurred at Coppice corner where Jason Rishover made contact with Mike Newbould and ended up in the gravel.

Rishover was unable to recover, and so joined Evans and England in the DNF column.

Rounds three and four of the 2017 UK LMP3 Cup Championship takes place on May 20-21 at Brands Hatch GP.