18th Consecutive Dunlop ELMS win at Le Castellet’s Paul Ricard circuit
- Gripping racing from both Dunlop classes
Dunlop’s first endurance race of the season, the 4 Hours of Le Castellet, began with a 1-2 finish in the top LMP2 class, the cars separated by less than five seconds at the flag. The win takes Dunlop’s tally to 18 consecutive race victories. The gap between the top-two in the all-Dunlop GTE class in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) was even smaller with a gripping last lap battle seeing JMW Motorsport take the lead in the last seconds.
In the LMP2 class, the Racing Engineering Oreca of Nato/Pla/Petit first took the lead on lap 42 of 129. The remainder of the race was largely led by the French trio on home ground with the biggest challenger for the lead coming from Signatech Alpine Matmut. The Alpine dropped back in the latter stages with TDS Racing coming through to take the second step. The 14 Dunlop cars used both soft and medium tyre options during the race, with the drivers giving positive feedback on the handling and particularly on the consistency throughout the stints; Norman Nato set the fastest lap of the race on the 18th lap of 23.
In the LMGTE class, the four Ferraris and four Porsches had a strong race. The #66 JMW Ferrari had led a handful of laps while the #88 Proton Competition car had been at the front for the vast majority. On the last lap Miguel Molina persisted in the Ferrari and ultimately managed to pass the Porsche in the closing moments of the race to take the flag with just a 0.8 second margin.
Mike McGregor: Manager Track Support, Dunlop Motorsport
"That was an amazing race with both podiums being decided in the closing stages of the race. The tyres were super consistent which is encouraging for the season ahead, as is having the two different GTE chassis battling for the win and being so close. It’s good that the tyres worked well - suiting both manufacturers. In both classes, both available compounds ran throughout the race which also bodes well. It’s been a great event at a great venue with a lot of spectators. All in all - an amazing opening to the 2018 ELMS. We look forward to the challenges ahead after an exciting start at Paul Ricard. "
The next round of the European Le Mans Series is the 4 Hours of Monza which takes place on 13th May.
James BaileyEMEAUnited Kingdomjbailey@goodyear.com44 7770 682413