Dunlop maintains 2017 ELMS podium lock-out record & takes 16th win
- First 2017 victories for Graff Oreca & #51 Spirit of Race Ferrari
- Mixed compound strategies across both Dunlop classes
- GTE championship battle wide open for final round
- LMP2 title to be decided by G-Drive Racing & United Autosports
Spa hosted an exciting European Le Mans Series (ELMS) race which saw the win decided by just half a second after four hours of racing with 12 lead changes between five different squads. The LMP2 and LMGTE teams saw a mix of tyre strategies across the podium finishers in both classes.
Graff took its first win in the #40 new generation Oreca, crossing the line just 0.581 seconds ahead of championship leaders G-Drive Racing. The race was drama filled – with safety car and full course yellow periods leading to a complex race in terms of team strategies. Even on the last lap the race was far from decided with the #40 car managing to take a drive through penalty and still hold the lead by a narrow margin. The podium was completed by the Isaakyan/ Orudzhev Dallara. The title will be decided between United Autosports (Ligier) and G-Drive Racing at the finale in Portugal next month.
The open-competition LMP2 class saw Dunlop’s 2017 leading lap record come to an end; after 568 laps of racing in 2017 Dunlop conceded 10 laps during a phase of pit-stops under a safety car. 636 of the 646 laps in the 2017 ELMS have now been led on Dunlop tyres, but the clean-sweep of podium positions and the win record continues. Dunlop has now claimed all top-three positions in the five races to date and the win record now stands at 16 consecutive victories.
In the all-Dunlop GT class, the title race is wide open going into the last round after the #51 Spirit of Race Ferrari won ahead of JMW Motorsport. Beechdean AMR finished in third. TF Sport, the standings leader, lost ground after an opening lap incident led to a loss of downforce which resulted in a points salvaging race and a fifth place finish which puts the team one point ahead of JMW Motorsport. Five teams have a mathematical chance of winning the title.
Paul Bryant, Event Leader, Dunlop Motorsport
"Graff drove a great race and it’s good to see them get their first win. The #51 Ferrari was a first time winner this year too. It is a very close class again this year. The teams used differing tyre strategies and worked well with the engineers to get the levels of performance that we saw here today. The great competition in the series really showed itself and points to an exciting end to the year. We are going to have a spectacular race in Portimão!“
The final round of the 2017 European Le Mans Series is the 4 Hours of Portimão which takes place on 22nd October.