The track record was beaten several times during the trials and qualifiers. At the end of a closely fought contest, Paul-Loup Chatin made it to the front line with the Oreca IDEC SPORT #28. The Ligier #27 did not take part in the session because of a gearbox problem. The race starts at 12.30 on Sunday.
The South of France is living up to its reputation with brilliant sunshine at the Paul Ricard circuit for several days and this should last today. Spectators are beginning to arrive and the mechanics are busy with the cars. While we wait for the V8 engines in the LMP2s to begin to roar, the championship cars are lining up.
0.025 seconds. That’s what it was down to decide pole position in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) opener on Saturday 13th April. We already knew that the 2019 season was going to be highly competitive, and the drivers really gave all in a fantastic battle during the 10 minute qualifier. In provisional pole position until the final seconds, the IDEC SPORT Oreca was overtaken and took second place.
“The team did a great job. The car performed really well. I thought that G-Drive would do well and that it would be vital to do a perfect lap to grab pole position. A little mistake from me cost us that position,” confessed Paul-Loup Chatin after the qualifier. “We mustn’t forget that the real goal is the main race. Paul now has a lot of experience of the starts and I know he’ll cope well. Sometimes it is better not to calculate too much and just do what you think is right remembering that a race lasts four hours.”
After a gearbox problem, the Ligier #27 did not take part in the qualifiers. It will set off in last place in the LMP2 category and not at the back of the grid, explained Frédéric Ducastel, head of the team: “After analysing the data, we realised there was a problem with the box and we stopped the car. The broken parts could not be repaired. We have an excellent relationship with Panis Barthez Compétition and they lent us some parts, which meant we were able to repair it to line up for the race. We’ll be setting off at the rear of the LMP2 cars, as the difference with the others is too big with drivers who are not used to seeing other faster cars catch them from the start of the race. It’s a matter of safety.”
The Ligier will set off in 18th place. After the incredible battle on the track, the engines fell silent. Only the sound of the mechanics and their tools could be heard in the paddock. The Paul-Ricard 4-Hour Race starts at 12.30 and you can follow the race on social media.