Photo Above: Jakob Ebrey / Europeanlemansseries.com
DragonSpeed, with its #21 ORECA 07 driven by Ben Hanley, has taken pole position for the opening round of the 2017 European Le Mans Series
TF Sport, Aston Martin and Nicki Thiim drew first blood in the ten-minute sessions by qualifying on pole in the LMGTE category.
It was an Aston Martin 1 -2 in qualifying for the 4 Hours of Silverstone with the Danish driver lapping the Northamptonshire circuit in the #90 Aston Martin V8 Vantage in 1:58.269. Thiim was closely followed by Ross Gunn who lapped the #99 Beechdean AMRV8 Vantage in 1:58.466.
In third position was the #55 Spirit of Race Ferrari F488 GT3 with Matt Griffin behind the wheel. Griffin had lap-time of 1:59.697 disqualified for a track limit infringement but the deletion of the lap did not affect his grid position.
Rory Butcher in the JMW Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia had a disappointing session, qualifying in the final position in the class, with a 2:00.940.
With a hint of moisture in the air, the LMP3 grid went out for their ten-minute session. LMP3 Sean Rayhall in the #2 United Autosports Ligier JSP3 looked to have class pole sewn up, even after the chequered flag had been shown. However Mikkel Jensen had other ideas and, courtesy of a session-fastest third sector, put the #9 AT Racing Ligier JSP3 on pole by less than two-tenths of second with a 1:53.665.
Qualifying in third position was the sister #3 United Autosports Ligier JS P3 with Wayne Boyd at the wheel, setting a time of 1:54.181.
8 cars were ‘pinged’ for track limit infringements and had lap times deleted, indicating the stance that the Race Director will be taking on cars keeping to the racing surface this season.
The LMP2 qualifying session was interrupted by a brief red flag following the departure from the track at Maggots of both the #22 G-Drive Racing ORECA 07 with Ryo Hirakawa behind the wheel and the #40 Graff entry driven by Richard Bradley.
After the session resumed with 5 minutes to go it was Filipe Albuquerque in the #32 United Autosports Ligier JS P217 who took provisional pole with a 1:44.314 from Andrea Pizzitola driving the #25 Algarve Pro entry.
Ben Hanley, however, in the #21 DragonSpeed ORECA 07 was quickly up to speed and snatched pole position with a 1:44.040. as the sessions was drawing to a close.
The opening round of the 2017 European Le Mans Series takes place on April 15 with the lights going out for the 4 Hours of Silverstone at 14:30