West Palm beach, Florida-based DragonSpeed, with its #21 Nissan-powered ORECA 05, earned a convincing win at the fifth round of the 2016 European Le mans Series at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
The #21 car, piloted by Henrik Hedman, Nicolas Lapierre and Ben Hanley started on pole and was rarely running outside the top three in a race which was full of incident across all three classes.
The first safety car period was triggered by the #33 Eurasia Motorsport ORECA 05 losing a wheel at T8 and although the car was recovered to the garage, it was unable to rejoin the race.
Krohn Racing, with its Ligier JS P2 had an evenful first hour with Tracey Krohn at the wheel. Krohn collided with the #60 Formula Racing Ferrari F458 Italia with Johnny Laursen driving, causing both cars to finish in the gravel at T12. A Full Course Yellow was required to recover the stricken Ligier, the neutralisation lasting ten minutes.
After an hour, the Teams Classification-leading #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing ORECA 05 took the lead, overtaking the #21 DragonSpeed entry.
Two further safety car periods occurred in quick succession. Gary Findlay in the #48 Murphy Prototypes ORECA 05 turned right into the barrier at T8 which resulted in a safety care period of more than fifteen minutes to repair the damage. Murphy Prototypes subsequently admitted that it may have left Findlay out for a lap too long on tyres that were clearly past their best.
When the race went green, it was the #38 G-Drive Racing Gibson 015S hat took the lead, Simon Dolan pushing hard to make the best of a car which was clearly struggling against newer opposition in certain sectors.
Dolan was unlucky when, after 9 minutes, the second safety car period occurred when the #29 Pegasus Racing Morgan went off in a similar place to Gary Findlay in the #48 Murphy Prototypes entry. The damage was now so severe to the safety barrier that it took nearly 30 minutes to effect full and safe repairs. As the race went green again, Dolan in the #38 G-Drive entry along with the #41 Greaves Motorsport and #23 Panis Barthez Competition cars needed to pit for fuel.
As pit stops worked their way through, it was the #47 team WRT Ligier JS P2 that found its way to the front of the field with the #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing, #38 G-Drive Racing and #32 SMP racing cars fighting for 6th place.
Further woes were added to the #38 G-Drive Racing entry when Simon Dolan spun at T19 and, in rejoining, earned the Team Principal a trip to the Race Director’s office.
With less than an hour to the #47 Team WRT Ligier JS P2 led the #21 DragonSpeed car, driven by Lapierre, with Lapierre closing rapidly.
In the closing minutes, the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 came into contact with the #46 Thiriet by TDS ORECA 05, resulting in the #25 being stuck in the gravel at T14. The race was neutralised under a Full Course Yellow and that was how it concluded.