European Le Mans Series

TDS Racing Takes Surprise Pole After Red Flag Affected Qualifying

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Credit: Jakob Ebrey Photography / ELMS

It was Matthieu Vaxiviere in the #33 TDS Racing who took pole position at the 4 Hours of Monza in an LMP2 session that was interrupted by red flags. The French team also piloted by Loic Duval and Francois Perrodo, will be looking to take the championship lead tomorrow with the points leaders struggling for lap time.

A red flag with three minutes to go did not help a number of European Le Mans Series runners as almost no teams could improve in the final sprint when the session was restarted. Meanwhile, Ultimate and Ebimotors took pole in LMP3 and GTE respectively.

LMP2 Qualifying

All eyes were on the LMP2 qualifying session as Le Castellet race winner Olivier Pla, spun his Racing Engineering car on the exit of the first chicane. The Frenchman continued, but the incident would put him on the backfoot as their rivals took the initiative.

The first to show their hand was Vaxiviere, taking provisional pole for TDS Racing. Before anyone could respond though a red flag was called for unconfirmed reasons. He decided not to return to the track with 2 minutes 30 seconds remaining as his rivals looked to demote the #33.

The second and third place runners also didn’t return to the track, with the only major improvement coming from Pla and Nelson Paciatici in the Duqueine Engineering, with the latter taking fourth. Many others were hindered though as the #25 Algarve Pro Racing ran wide, hitting the barrier at some pace at the final corner.

Second place would be the DragonSpeed Oreca 07 – Gibson thanks to an early lap from Ben Hanley. He was 0.381 seconds behind the TDS car, but still qualifies just ahead of the APR-Rebellion Racing Oreca, who was arguably the major beneficiaries of the turn two red flag.

Behind them, Duqueine led Jean-Eric Vergne‘s G-Drive Racing ensuring the Oreca’s locked out the top five positions, with the highest Ligier JS P217; #22 United Autosports also the only non-Oreca within a second of the polesitter.

LMP3 Qualifying

Qualifying had started with the #19 M.Racing – YMR team topping the table, but it wasn’t long before single-seater graduate Job Van Uitert brought RLR MSport into contention with a time under the 1min 46sec benchmark. Sadly for the Dutchman, he failed to improve, ending up fifth.

It was a final run from the #17 Ultimate Norma M30 that upset the order though, with Matthieu Lahaye taking the class pole by 0.224 seconds from the #19. Behind them, both the #9 AT Racing and the #2 United Autosports Ligier JS P3’s had taken their turn at the front, but came up second best in the fight against Norma’s as Mikkel Jensen took third from Sean Rayhall.

GTE Qualifying

It was Ebimotors who took pole in the GTE class. The #80 Porsche 911 RSR had been one of the first on track to set a lap time and made the most of the track time to take the position by 0.018 seconds to the Proton Competition.

In fact only a second separated the five drivers who had set lap times by the time the chequered flag came out. Notably, JMW Motorsport failed to set a time, ensuring the championship leaders will start sixth in class at the back of the grid.

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