Four Ferrari crews occupied the first four places in the LMGTE class at the close of the 4 Hours of Barcelona. A noteworthy final balance sheet for the third round of the European Le Mans Series, held Saturdday in Spain, which for the first time in its history, was played out under artificial light. The spoils, for the second time this season, went to the 488 GTE crew of Luzich Racing with Alessandro Pier Guidi, Fabien Lavergne and Nicklas Nielsen who, thanks to today’s result, become the new overall leaders.
First hour. The races was dominated throughout by the Swiss Ferrari team who were first across the line as the clock struck each of the scheduled hours of the race, with the exception of the first, where a delayed pit stop by the Porsche of Team Project 1 had temporarily relegated car #51 down to second place. After having battled over the opening stages of the race with Kessel Racing’s sister car – which in the morning qualifying had secured pole position thanks to an impeccable lap by Andrea Piccini – the crew of Luzich Racing took command of the race, edging further and further away from adversaries.
Second hour. At the top of the second hour, Ferrari #51 held a 27-second margin over Team Project 1’s Porsche and a 50-second advantage over Spirit of Race’s 488 GTE, who had performed very positively over the opening half of the race. With two hours still to race before the chequered flag, the Luzich Racing crew upped the tempo and set out to establish an advantage that would be unreachable for their rivals. However, the gap was closed down by the incursion of the Safety Car, made necessary while the safety barrier at turn three was repaired, after a prototype had crashed out – without consequences.
Third hour. An hour later, with the perimeter of the Barcelona circuit now in darkness, the situation in the standings behind the leader was to take yet another twist with the Ferrari courtesy of JMW Motorsport with Segal-Lu-Cressoni moving into second position ahead of the Scott-Cameron-Griffin trio at the wheel of car #55.
Fourth hour. The final hour reshuffled the table still further, producing an even rosier outcome for the Prancing Horse marque as four 488 GTEs occupied the top four places, dominating the competition. The chequered flag ushered past Alessandro Pier Guidi claiming his second success of the season for Luzich Racing with a 41”119-advantage over JMW Motorsport’s Ferrari driven by Matteo Cressoni and 47”605 over Spirit of Race’s 488 GTE with Matthew Griffin at the wheel. A lap behind the winner, Rahel Frey brought home the Kessel Racing car #83, which had also been driven by Manuela Gostner and Michelle Gatting. The fifth Ferrari entrant, another Kessel Racing machine featuring pole-sitter Andrea Piccini and team-mates Sergio Pianezzola and Claudio Schiavoni, concluded the four hour-race in eighth final position.
The result sees Alessandro Pier Guidi, Fabien Lavergne and Nicklas Nielsen become the new leaders in the overall standings of the European Le Mans Series, with 65 points in the table. Drivers can now look forward to the next round to be held on 30th September in Silverstone.