The LMGTE victory went to the no51 Luzich Racing Ferrari with reigning FIA World Endurance GTE Champion Alessandro Pier Guidi taking the chequered flag for a debut win for the Swiss team with Fabien Lavergne and Nicklas Nielsen.
In second was the no83 Kessel Racing Ferrari with Michelle Gatting crossing the finish line for a debut podium for the all-female driver-crew alongside Rahel Frey and Manuela Gostner.
In LMGTE the no51 Luzich Racing Ferrari of Fabien Lavergne got ahead of the pole-sitting no77 Dempsey-Proton Competition Porsche of Christian Ried on the opening lap and the French driver then started to open a gap to the chasing pack or Ried, Edigio Perfetti in the Project 1 Porsche, the no88 Proton Competition Porsche of Horst Felbermayr, the no66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari of Wei Lu and the no83 Kessel Racing Ferrari of Manuela Gostner.
Perfetti passed Ried for second place but by this time Lavergne had opened up a five-second gap and was pulling away. Fabien Lavergne had a scare when the Ferrari was clipped by the no32 United Autosports Ligier which was lapping the French driver. There was minor body damage and the door mirror was hanging down. But this didn’t seem to slow Lavergne as he continued to lead the category.
In LMGTE the no66 Ferrari and no77 Porsche were side by side into Signes, battling for third, but there was contact. Both cars ran wide but managed to stay out of the barriers and stay in contention.
The #51 Ferrari was nearly a minute ahead of the LMGTE field as the two-hour mark approached with the #77 Porsche, #66 Ferrari, #83 Ferrari of Rahel Frey and #80 Porsche of Fabio Babini all in contention for the other podium position. Frey was passed by Babini’s Porsche, dropping her to 5th, just as the leading #51 Ferrari was instructed to repair the damage incurred in the earlier incident at the next pitstop.
Fabien Lavergne handed the #51 Luzich Racing Ferrari over to Nicklas Nielsen, with the team working quickly to repair the bodywork damage. After the pitstops, Rahel Frey was up to second in the #83 Kessel Racing Ferrari after passing Christian Ried’s #77 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche.
Frey had a scare when she clipped the #8 Nielsen Racing Ligier of Nobuya Yamanaka into a spin. The Ferrari was only slightly damaged but the Swiss driver was reported to the stewards. However, a black and white warning flag was the only penalty as Frey pitted to hand the car over to Michelle Gatting to complete the race.
Alessandro Pier Guidi completed a perfect afternoon for Luzich Racing, bringing home the #51 Ferrari one lap ahead of the #83 Kessel Racing Ferrari of Michelle Gatting, the first podium for an all-female crew in ELMS history and 12 seconds ahead of the #77 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche.
The next round of the 2019 European Le Mans Series will be the 4 Hours of Monza on Sunday 12 May.
- Source: European Le Mans Series
- Photocredit: European Le Mans Series