After a long break that included the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the European Le Mans Series is back at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
Fastest car after the first practice session was the no28 IDEC Sport Oreca-Gibson with Paul Loup Chatin setting a 1m20.067 lap on the 4.318km circuit. However the gap couldn’t have been closer, with Le Castellet race winner Norman Nato finished the session with a 1m20.070 in the no24 Racing Engineering Oreca, with the no33 TDS Racing Oreca of Matthieu Vaxiviére 0.024s behind in third. The top seven LMP2 cars were split by only 0.5 seconds.
Australia’s top chance for a win is James Allen driving with Mexican driver Jose Gutierrez in the G-Drive Oreca 07. In the first session they were just off the pace in seventh position.
The LMP3 category was also very close with the no17 Ultimate Norma-Nissan topped the time sheets with Matthieu Lahaye setting a 1m26.927 lap, 0.018s ahead of the no3 United Autosports Ligier of Matt Bell. The no19 M.Racing-YMR Norma of Lucas Légeret was third fastest, three tenths behind the lead Norma and 0.06s ahead of Sean Rayhall in the no2 United Autosports Ligier at the end of the 90-minute session.
Reigning champions JMW Motorsport headed the LMGTE class with Miguel Molina posting a 1m28.829 lap in the no66 Ferrari F488. The Spanish driver was over half a second ahead of the second place GTE car, the no88 Proton Competition Porsche of Matteo Cairoli, with the no83 Krohn Racing Ferrari of Andrea Bertolini in third, 0.088s behind the second placed Porsche.
Qualifying takes place tonight Melbourne time with live coverage available from 9:00PM.