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2020 . 10 . 11

LMP3: Inter Europol Competition Return to the Top Step in Monza

JEP/ ELMS

At the end of a drama filled 4 Hours of Monza, the no13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier-Nissan returned to the top step of the ELMS podium for the first time since Barcelona 2019. Martin Hippe and Dino Lunardi secured the victory, which puts the team back in contention for the LMP3 title at Portimão on the 1st November.

The no2 United Autosports Ligier of Rob Wheldon got a good start from pole position to end the opening lap of the 4 Hours of Monza in the lead, with the no9 Graff Ligier of Arnold Robin getting a good run from 8th on the LMP3 grid to move up to second place. The no15 RLR MSport Ligier of James Dayson, which had started in second place, dropped down the order after a spin on lap one.

The Safety Car was deployed on lap 1 to recover the stricken no26 G-Drive Racing Aurus, which had been hit by the no39 Graff Oreca at T1 and when the race went back to green the no2 Ligier was able to maintain its lead over the rest of the LMP3 field. The no11 Eurointernational Ligier of Jacopo Baratto was up to second place, with the no9 Graff Ligier dropping to third and being caught by the no13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier of Martin Hippe.

Baratto caught the lead car on lap 11 and on the run out of Parabolica got alongside Wheldon’s United Autosports Ligier and took the lead into T1. Hippe also moved ahead of Robin in the no9 Graff and then took second from Wheldon. The German driver was 2 seconds behind Baratto’s leading no11 Eurointernational Ligier.

Two laps later Baratto gifted the lead to Hippe when the Italian went straight on at T1, rejoining from the escape road in second place.

A Full Course Yellow was declared when the no3 United Autosports Ligier of Jim McGuire tried to lap the no60 Iron Lynx Ferrari of Sergio Pianezzola at Ascari. The American’s move was a little ambitious and he made contact with the Ferrari, spinning Pianezzola off the track and then collecting McGuire’s Ligier. The Ferrari was damaged and retired while McGuire was handed a 10 second stop and go penalty for causing the incident.

After a second FCY to recover debris dropped on the track at T5 by the no7 Nielsen Racing Duqueine, the battle for the LMP3 lead was between three cars, the no11 Eurointernational, the no13 Inter Europol Competition and no2 United Autosports Ligiers.

After a lot of changing due to the different lengths of pitstops, the no11 Ligier of Nicolas Maulini held a 2 second lead over the no13 Ligier of Dino Lunardi. With 90 minutes remaining, Lunardi took the lead and started to pull away from the Swiss driver.Tom Gamble in the no2 United Autosports Ligier managed to keep in contact with the lead pair but the car still needed to serve one of its longer pitstops before the chequered flag.

Lunardi continued to pull away from the no11 Ligier, which now had Niko Kari at the wheel and at the chequered flag was 20 seconds ahead of the Finn.Wayne Boyd had taken over the no2 Ligier and was reeling in the no11 Ligier and at the flag was just 0.062s behind the Finn in third place.

The no2 United Autosports Ligier now heads into the final race in Portimão as the championship leaders with 68 points, with the no13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier in second place with 58 points, meaning the race for the 2020 ELMS LMP3 titles will go down to the wire.


CLICK HERE for the result from the 4 Hours of Monza.

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