Spa ELMS: Team WRT takes LMP2 title with home win

Team WRT survived a scrappy start to win the fifth round of the European Le Mans Series at Spa-Francorchamps and seal the LMP2 title with one round to go.

Spa ELMS: Team WRT takes LMP2 title with home win

The Belgian circuit often provides chaos at the start and so it proved once again with championship contenders G-Drive Racing and United Autosports among the cars in trouble at the first corner, the former retiring after contact with Salih Yoluc's TF Sport-run car at the first corner while Phil Hanson in the United Autosport’s ORECA went a lap down after a puncture.

This was the ideal scenario for Team WRT, as Robert Kubica, Yifei Ye and Louis Deletraz made up for their Le Mans heartache with a clean run to victory, their third of the season, ahead of the Duqueine and Panis efforts.

They now hold an unassailable 36-point advantage with 25 points available in next month's Portimao finale over G-Drive pair Roman Rusinov and Franco Colapinto. 

Alfa Romeo Formula 1 stand-in Kubica took the start in the #41 WRT from third on the grid and immediately took second, before leapfrogging Charles Milesi's pole-sitting #37 COOL Racing ORECA when he stayed on board the car at the first pitstops.

There was another lead change in the second round of pitstops, with the #32 United Autosports ORECA that had started last - with a chassis built up around a new monocoque following Nico Jamin's heavy qualifying shunt - getting a jump on the erstwhile leading WRT.

But Yefei, now at the wheel of the #41 car, was able to pass Manuel Maldonado going into Les Combes to put his team back in the lead of the race with just over two hours to run. 

From there on, the WRT crew cruised to the chequered flag, with Deletraz bringing the car home five seconds clear of Duqueine drivers Tristan Gommendy, Rene Binder and Memo Rojas.

LMP2 Pro-Am was won by the COOL squad of Milesi, Nicolas Lapierre and Alexandre Coigny, finishing fourth overall, while the #32 United crew also comprising Job van Uitert slipped to fifth overall at the finish. 

#32 United Autosports Oreca 07 - Gibson LMP2, Job Van Uitert, Nicolas Jamin, Manuel Maldonado

#32 United Autosports Oreca 07 - Gibson LMP2, Job Van Uitert, Nicolas Jamin, Manuel Maldonado

Photo by: Eric Le Galliot

In LMP3, DKR Engineering started the race from pole but the Luxembourg-flagged team lost the lead in the first corner chaos and had to battle hard to regain the lead.

Once Laurents Horr and team-mate Mathieu de Barbuat got out in front, the DKR Duqueine proved uncatchable, finishing almost a minute ahead of the nearest competition.

The team’s third victory in a row ensured it closed the gap to championship leaders COOL Racing's Nicolas Maulini, Matthew Bell and Niklas Krutten. The Swiss team was in damage limitation mode after having started 13th following a difficult qualifying on Saturday, but recovered strongly to secure second, just ahead of the lead United Autosport Ligier crewed by Wayne Boyd, Rob Wheldon and Edouard Cauhaupe in third.

AF Corse ensured the battle for the GTE title will go down to the wire at Portimao as Francois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Alessio Rovera convincingly won their second race of the season ahead of the points-leading Iron Lynx Ferrari of Matteo Cressoni, Rino Mastronardi and Miguel Molina.

The second all-female Iron Lynx car of Rahel Frey, Sarah Bovy and Michelle Gatting sealed a Ferrari 1-2-3 by beating Proton Competition's Porsche driven by Hollywood actor Michael Fassbender, Felipe Fernandez Laser and factory driver Richard Lietz to the line by less than half a second.

ELMS Spa-Francorchamps 4 Hours - race results

Cla Driver Car Laps Gap
1 Poland Robert Kubica
Switzerland Louis Deletraz
China Ye Yifei
Oreca 07 99  
2 France Tristan Gommendy
Austria Rene Binder
Mexico Memo Rojas
Oreca 07 99 5.318
3 France Julien Canal
United Kingdom Will Stevens
Australia James Allen
Oreca 07 99 19.544
4 Switzerland Alexandre Coigny
France Nicolas Lapierre
France Charles Milesi
Oreca 07 99 23.198
5 Netherlands Job Van Uitert
France Nico Jamin
Venezuela Manuel Maldonado
Oreca 07 99 26.236
6 France Paul Lafargue
France Paul-Loup Chatin
France Patrick Pilet
Oreca 07 99 1'07.468
7 United States John Falb
Portugal Rui Andrade
United States Gustavo Menezes
Aurus 01 99 1'24.134
8 United Kingdom Philip Hanson
South Africa Jonathan Aberdein
United Kingdom Tom Gamble
Oreca 07 99 1'33.014
9 Italy Francesco Dracone
Italy Sergio Campana
Germany Markus Pommer
Oreca 07 98 1 Lap
10 France Matthieu Lahaye
France Jean Baptiste Lahaye
Oreca 07 98 1 Lap
11 Germany Laurents Hörr
Mathieu de
Duqueine M30 - D08 96 3 Laps
12 Nicolas Maulini
United Kingdom Matthew Bell
Germany Niklas Krütten
Ligier JS P320 96 3 Laps
13 United Kingdom Wayne Boyd
Robert Wheldon
Edouard Cauhaupe
Ligier JS P320 96 3 Laps
14 France Eric Trouillet
Sebastien Page
Switzerland David Droux
Ligier JS P320 95 4 Laps
15 United States Rob Hodes
Canada Garett Grist
Charles Crews
Ligier JS P320 95 4 Laps
16 Italy Bressan Alessandro
Greece Andreas Laskaratos
Italy Damiano Fioravanti
Ligier JS P320 95 4 Laps
17 Switzerland Matthias Kaiser
Finland Rory Penttinen
Ligier JS P320 94 5 Laps
18 United States Jim McGuire
Duncan Tappy
Andrew Bentley
Ligier JS P320 94 5 Laps
19 France François Perrodo
France Emmanuel Collard
Italy Alessio Rovera
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 93 6 Laps
20 Italy Matteo Cressoni
Italy Rino Mastronardi
Spain Miguel Molina
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 93 6 Laps
21 United Kingdom Nick Adcock
United States Austin McCusker
Netherlands Max Koebolt
Ligier JS P320 93 6 Laps
22 Switzerland Rahel Frey
Belgium Sarah Bovy
Denmark Michelle Gatting
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 93 6 Laps
23 Germany Michael Fassbender
Germany Felipe Fernández Laser
Austria Richard Lietz
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 93 6 Laps
24 Italy Claudio Schiavoni
Italy Giorgio Sernagiotto
Italy Paolo Ruberti
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 93 6 Laps
25 United Kingdom Jody Fannin
Italy Andrea Fontana
United States Rodrigo Sales
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 92 7 Laps
26 Germany Christian Ried
United States Cooper MacNeil
Australia Matt Campbell
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 92 7 Laps
27 United Kingdom John Hartshorne
United Kingdom Ross Gunn
United Kingdom Ollie Hancock
Aston Martin Vantage AMR 91 8 Laps
28 United Kingdom Tony Wells
United Kingdom Colin Noble Jr.
Ligier JS P320 91 8 Laps
29 Italy Andrea Dromedari
Jacopo Baratto
Joey Alders
Ligier JS P320 90 9 Laps
  Cresp Christophe
France Fabien Lavergne
Adrien Chila
Ligier JS P320 91 8 Laps
  Italy Mattia Pasini
Mateusz Kaprzyk
Nicolas Pino
Ligier JS P320 78 21 Laps
  Germany Martin Hippe
Ugo De
Australia Aidan Read
Ligier JS P320 47 52 Laps
  Mexico Diego Menchaca
Austria Ferdinand Habsburg
United Kingdom Richard Bradley
Oreca 07 19 80 Laps
  Mike Benham
United Kingdom Alex Kapadia
Malthe Jakobsen
Ligier JS P320 19 80 Laps
  United Kingdom Duncan Cameron
Ireland Matthew Griffin
South Africa David Perel
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 18 81 Laps
  Turkey Salih Yoluc
Ireland Charles Eastwood
United Kingdom Harry Tincknell
Oreca 07 13 86 Laps
  Russian Federation Roman Rusinov
Argentina Franco Colapinto
Netherlands Nyck de Vries
Aurus 01 1 98 Laps
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