17:21 PM

First Dallara Victory and 15th Consecutive Dunlop ELMS Win

  • First win for a new-generation Dallara
  • All three manufacturers on all-Dunlop LMP2 podium
  • All three Dunlop-shod LMP2 manufacturers have taken ELMS wins in 2017
  • GTE championship battle intensifies
  • Teams used both option tyres with LMP2 capable of quadruple stints

Dunlop’s European Le Mans Series (ELMS) clean sweep continued in France this weekend at the 4 Hours of Le Castellet. The Dunlop tyres rose to the challenge of the Southern France heat, with LMP2 teams opting to largely double-stint with the tyre proving capable of up to four stints despite track temperatures exceeding 40 degrees.

The LMP2 teams chose a variety of tyre strategies, including front/rear and left/right splits, contributing to an entertaining four hours of racing. It was the #27 Dallara driven by Matevos Isaakyan and Egor Orudzhev that won the race, by a margin of nearly one and a half minutes, having led 88 of 115 laps. Key to the win was the decision to remain on track during an early “full course yellow” period, which saw the rest needing at least five pit stops compared to the winner’s four; the Dallara spent 1’33” less time in the pits than the second placed G-Drive car that crossed the line 1’29 seconds after the victors.

It is the first win for the new generation Dallara car and the first time that the three manufacturers competing have all stood on the same ELMS podium. Dunlop caps have been on every step of the ELMS podiums throughout the season. The win record also continues, with Dunlop winning every ELMS race since Silverstone 2015, making it 15 consecutive victories.

The Cameron/Griffin/Scott #55 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 dominated the all-Dunlop GTE class, leading 103 of the 106 laps and taking the flag over one minute ahead of the rest. The biggest battle was for the remaining podium positions with TF Sport battling back from the rear of the field despite a damaged dive-plane. It was Euan Hankey’s pass in the final hour that took the Aston Martin Vantage into second place, crossing the line just 1.054 seconds ahead of the JMW Motorsport Ferrari 488. The cars finishing second to fifth were separated by only 20 seconds.

In the respective championships, the LMP2 table sees two teams extending the gap to the rest; G-Drive Racing’s #22 Oreca leads, followed by the United Autosports Ligier. The GTE battle has intensified with TF Sport leading but with the top three separated by only 13 points.

Paul Bryant, Event Leader, Dunlop Motorsport

"What a great race! The heat was a test and it was good to be able to bring tyres that gave our teams options for varied strategies. Having a tyre that can quadruple stint in these conditions gave the teams plenty of options and this race probably saw the most varied tyre strategies down the pit-lane that we’ve seen for some time. Now that  we've had a Dallara, Ligier and Oreca on the same podium and all three have won a race it shows that the tyres have been well designed to be competitive for the new chassis. It’s also great to see close battles in the race and for the title in the GTE class."

The next round of the European Le Mans Series is the 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps which takes place on 24th September.