4 Hours of Spa: DragonSpeed tops Opening Practice

by Daniel Lloyd

DragonSpeed topped the timesheets at Spa-Francorchamps for the first practice session of the European Le Mans Series weekend.

A 2:08.625s lap by Nicolas Lapierre was enough to put the American squad on top with its ORECA-Nissan 05. The Frenchman will share the car with Henrik Hedman and  Ben Hanley during Sunday’s four hour race.

Lapierre’s time edged out the SMP Racing BR01-Nissan of Stefano Coletti by the tender margin of 0.093 seconds.

Third quickest was Olivier Pla, who clocked a 2:08.832s lap aboard the Krohn Racing Ligier-Nissan JSP2.

Rounding out the top five were Mathias Beche in the championship-leading Thiriet by TDS Racing ORECA and Vitaly Petrov in the second SMP Racing BR01.

4 Hours of Spa FP1 Results

In LMP3, Alex Brundle led the way for United Autosports, as the Anglo-American team seeks to secure the class title one round early.

Brundle’s 2:15.517s marker put him six tenths of a second ahead of Simon Gachet in the Panis Barthez Competition Ligier.

Yann Ehrlacher completed the top three times of Friday’s opening session with a 2:16.128s for Yvan Muller Racing.

The second quickest time of the LMP3 category was actually set during the bronze drivers’ collective test earlier in the day, when Thomas Laurent reeled off a 2:15.685s best in the same Yvan Muller-entered car.

Ferrari led Porsche in the LMGTE times, with Alessandro Pier Guidi going quickest for AT Racing. The Italian driver registered a 2:19.130s marker to nudge ahead of fellow Ferrari specialist Andrea Bertolini in the identical JMW Motorsport Ferrari 458.

Third on the timesheets went to Porsche factory driver Wolf Henzler, driving the Proton Competition 911 RSR. Henzler’s time was three tenths of a second shy of the class pace, but comfortably seven tenths clear of Matteo Cairoli in the sister Proton car.

The top five in LMGTE was propped up by Darren Turner in the Beechdean-liveried Aston Martin.

A second 90 minute free practice session will take place tomorrow (Saturday, September 24) at 09:30 local time, with qualifying for the 4 Hours of Spa scheduled for the afternoon.

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