Second win of the season for the Ferrari courtesy of Sergio Pianezzola and Giacomo Piccini in the fourth round of the Le Mans Cup held today on the Barcelona circuit in Spain. The crew of Kessel Racing acquitted themselves perfectly in the race to finish ahead of the Porsche of Baccani-Pera and the 488 GT3 crew of Luzich Racing with Fabien Lavergne and Mikkel Mac.
Kessel in command. The two-hour race got underway after an extra formation lap after race stewards had deemed the first one to have been incorrectly aligned. Once the lights went out Baccani got off quickly pursued by Pianezzola, Calamia, Lavergne and Ulrich. The Kessel Racing driver was able to quickly break away from some of the LMP3 vehicles to reach the slipstream of the race leader. The Kessel Racing driver got the better of his rival on lap fourteen to take the lead. Lavergne, as usual, got off to a flying start and passed swiftly up the order, making it as far as third place on the twenty-first lap, with the help of several Full Course Yellows. Just off the top three was Christoph Ulrich, who, having performed well until that moment, was forced to drop several positions after some decisive overtaking manoeuvres from drivers in the LMP3 class. With the clock marking time at the end of the first hour, there was the habitual rush into the crowded pit lane to swap drivers, with the race order undergoing numerous changes.
Two on the podium. The second part of the race failed to be as newsworthy as the first, although the battle for the rostrum remained buoyant. Mikkel Mac, having relieved Fabien Lavergne in the 488 GT3, went on the hunt for the Mercedes of Pampanini, taking over the second position 44 minutes from time. The Luzich Racing driver may well have demanded too much from the tyres and was forced to ease up the pace, letting Pera take the open track on the 36th lap. The former International GT Open champion was thus forced to fend off the attacks from Gunn’s Aston Martin and Mettler’s Mercedes AMG but managed to hang on to post third at the finish-line. The chequered flag had, by then, come out to celebrate the triumph of the Pianezzola-Piccini duo, once again on the highest step of the podium after their previous inaugural race win. Sixth place went to the Spirit of Race crew Ulrich-Mediani, while the pairing from Kessel Racing, made up of Hartshorne-Hancock, came home in eighth.
Standings. The result allows the incumbent champions Pianezzola-Piccini to close to seven points the gap behind current leaders Lavergne-Mac on 87. Third place for Mediani-Urlich with 44 points and eighth for Hartshorne-Hancock with 23. The next round of the Le Mans Cup is scheduled for Spa-Francorchamps on 21st September.