Pla Tops Shortened Estoril First Practice

Krohn Racing’s Olivier Pla set the fastest lap of a shortened practice session for this weekend’s Estoril round of the European Le Mans Series.

Persistent rainfall and high winds prompted race control to cut the 90 minute session short by half an hour. As such, Pla’s early 1:47.724s lap aboard the #40 Ligier JS P2 stood as the quickest when the red flag was deployed.

Léo Roussel was second in the Pegasus Racing Morgan, 3.816s behind Pla, while Thiriet by TDS Racing’s Nicolas Lapierre completed the top three, a further eight tenths back.

Harry Tincknell set the fourth quickest time for Jota Sport, which is going head-to-head against Thiriet by TDS Racing and Greaves Motorsport for the LMP2 championship this weekend.

Fifth overall was Mike Simpson in the first of the Team LNT Ginetta LMP3s, setting a 1:53.219s time 28 minutes into the session. The Graff-entered Ligier JS P3, making its ELMS debut at Estoril, also ran solidly, ending the morning 10th quickest overall and third in LMP3, behind Charlie Robertson in the second Team LNT car.

FIA World Endurance Championship regulars led the way in a tough session for the LMGTE teams. Porsche works driver Richard Lietz topped the order with a 1:55.038s lap aboard the Proton Competition 911 RSR, closely followed by Ferrari man James Calado in the JMW Motorsport 458 Italia.

However, it was a GTC machine that led the GT cohort at Estoril, as Frenchman Franck Perera breached the overall top 10 with a 1:54.324s effort in the TDS Racing BMW Z4 GT3. AF Corse assumed the next two places, with Marco Cioci 4.438s adrift in the #63 Ferrari 458 Italia and Mads Rasmussen a further 1.806s back in the #64 sister entry.
More wet weather is scheduled to pass over the Lisbon area this weekend, with heavy showers expected for the race on Sunday, October 18.

Free practice two will take place later today (Saturday, October 17), at 15:00.