The third meeting of the 2018 ELMS was complicated for IDEC SPORT. While the ORECA #28 took pole position, it only finished in fourth place after a few incidents during the race. The Ligier #27 took sixteenth place.
IDEC SPORT was racing in Austria last weekend in the Red Bull Ring 4-Hour Race, the third event in the European Le Mans Series this season. The weather was mixed from the trials to the end of the race. The poor conditions did not stop Paul-Loup Chatin, who got the best qualifying time covering the 4.318km of the Spielberg track in 1’19’’246. Paul-Loup Chatin got his second first place of the 2018 season, and third pole position after the Le Mans 24-Hour Race. There is less than a second between the top ten. It looks like being a close contest.
Paul Lafargue was given the task of starting the race. In the #27, Nicolas Minassian was back at the wheel for the weekend and took off in ninth place on the grid.
Paul Lafargue got off to a good start and showed his ability to find speed remaining in second place until the end of his stint. At the first pit stop, Memo Rojas took over and kept up a fast pace to keep up with the leaders. While still in second place, a misunderstanding when overtaking saw him come into contact. The front foil on the ORECA was damaged and they had to go into the pits. The Race Directors gave the Mexican driver a penalty of 25 seconds.
In the Ligier, Patrice Lafargue took the wheel after two stints by Nicolas. The owner – driver of IDEC SPORT did two clean stints before handing the car over to Erik Maris to finish the race with a double stint. #28 was very fast and climbed back up with Paul-Loup Chatin crossing the finish line in fourth place. Erik Maris passed the chequered flag in sixteenth place.
“It was a complicated race and I got hit by a driver when overtaking. I don’t know why we got the 25-second penalty and we had to change the bonnet, » said a disappointed Memo Rojas. “It was a pity as we were well on our way to making it to the podium. We are continuing to fight for the championship, as we have the potential and hope to win the next few races.”
IDEC SPORT will be back racing on 18th August in the ELMS at the Silverstone 4-Hour Race. Aurélien Panis, the son of Olivier Panis (former F1 driver), will be joining the IDEC SPORT team in the Ligier for his first race in LMP2.