Vergne to miss ELMS Opener at Paul Ricard due to Rome ePrix commitments


Jean-Eric Vergne will miss the 4 Hours of Paul Ricard
Credit: Sam Bloxham/LAT/Formula E

Jean-Eric Vergne will miss the opening round of the European Le Mans Series season at the Circuit Paul Ricard due to his commitments in the FIA Formula E Championship, while his G-Drive Racing team look set to announce Andrea Pizzitola as the team’s third full time driver for the 2018 season.

Vergne will be competing in the Rome ePrix on the Saturday of the weekend at Paul Ricard, and because of missing the drivers’ briefing and practice for the four-hour race, he will not be permitted to race, with Alexandre Imperatori set to step into his seat alongside Roman Rusinov and Pizzitola.

Although not confirmed as a full-time move, Pizzitola will race at Paul Ricard for the team, who opted to amend their controversial line-up of Vergne, Rusinov and Matthieu Vaxiviere for the good of the series, and could stay with the outfit for the rest of the European Le Mans Series season.

Vergne will re-join the team for the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Spa-Francorchamps in May, while the Frenchman, Rusinov and Imperatori look set to be the teams preferred line-up for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, subject to approval from the ACO.

“We’ve invited Alexandre and Andrea to the first round of the ELMS at Le Castellet [Paul Ricard],” said Rusinov. “This selection was made after a test featuring several potential candidates, where Alexandre and Andrea showed very good speed.

“Jean-Eric will wait until the following race in Spa to make his debut for G-Drive Racing. Because of the Formula E Rome race, he won’t be able to attend the drivers’ briefing and practice runs for the opening round of the ELMS, and without this the stewards will not permit him to take start in the race.”