Graff Racing takes last lap Michelin LeMans Cup victory in wet race at Spa

Graff Racing takes last lap Michelin LeMans Cup victory in wet race at Spa

24.09.2022: David Droux took the chequered flag in the no40 Graff Racing Ligier after passing the no76 Reiter Engineering Ligier of Mads Siljehaug on the last lap of a drama filled race at Spa-Francorchamps.

David Droux took the chequered flag in the no40 Graff Racing Ligier after passing the no76 Reiter Engineering Ligier of Mads Siljehaug on the last lap of a drama filled race at Spa-Francorchamps.



Just before the start of the race, heavy rain fell, and the decision was taken to start the race behind the safety car. The no99 Bullitt Racing Aston Martin went off the track on its way to the grid in the slippery conditions and wouldn’t take part in the race.



After 15-minutes of circulating behind the Safety Car the race went green with the no76 Reiter Engineering Ligier in the lead, Freddie Hunt making the most of his pole position to pull away from the rest of the field as he had a clear track in front of him with no spray.



The no29 MV2S Forestier Racing Ligier of Jerome de Sadeleer moved ahead of the no40 Graff Racing Ligier of Luis Sanjuan for third and then took second place when the no11 WTM Racing Ligier of Torsten Kratz ran wide at Bruxelles.



However, the Safety Car returned after just five minutes of green flag racing when the no6 ANS Motorsport Ligier of Jonathan Brossard went off into the gravel, closing the field back up.



The Safety Car remained on track for 22 minutes before racing resumed with Kratz immediately challenging De Sadeleer for the second place he’d lost just before the Safety Car. At Les Combes Kratz took the position.



The GT3 field was still headed by the pole sitting no44 GMB Motorsport Honda of Jens Moller, with the no55 Honda of Kristian Poulsen in second place. The no61 AF Corse Ferrari of Gino Fiorgino caught and passed the no88 GMB Motorsport Honda for third place.



Meanwhile the no3 DKR Engineering Duqueine, which had started in 27th position, was up to 6th in the hands of Laurents Hörr. The German driver then went past the no13 Hegeli by T2 Racing Duqueine and the no40 Graff Racing Ligier to move into 4th in short order. He continued to move up the field, passing the no29 Ligier at Raidillon and then made the same move on the no11 WTM Racing Ligier a lap later to move up to second place, before he pitted to hand the car over to Jon Brownson.



Freddie Hunt came into the pits to hand over the Reiter Engineering Ligier to Mads Siljehaug, the Norwegian driver rejoining the track with an 18 second lead, which extended out to 30 seconds. David Droux in the no40 Graff Racing Ligier was in 5th place but made rapid progress to move up to second place ahead of Leo Weiss in the no11 WTM Racing Ligier with 40 minutes left on the clock.



Another Safety Car period was declared with 33 minutes of the race remaining after the no9 AT Racing Ligier ended up beached in the gravel at T8, which took 10 minutes to clear. Luckily Siljehaug had three GT3 cars between him and Droux, so at the restart he was able to maintain a six second gap to his rival.



The GT3 train was led by Gustav Birch in the no44 Honda, ahead of Jan Magnussen in the no88 GMB run NSX and the no55 Honda driven by Kasper Jensen. The no61 AF Corse Ferrari of Andrea Montermini had latched onto the back of the ‘Dane Train’ and was putting pressure on Jensen for the final podium position.



Championship leader Tom Dillmann was moving up the field in the no10 Racing Spirit of Leman Ligier and caught and passed Louis Rousset in the no29 MV2S Ligier, his nearest rival in the championship battle, for 6th place. This was enough for Dillmann to secure the LMP3 title for himself, Alexander Mattschull and the Swiss team.



The no3 DKR Engineering Duqueine in the hands of Jon Brownson had fallen down the order and with less than 15-minutes left, the American spun off the track into the gravel, bringing out a Full Course Yellow, which last 5 minutes.



At the restart the no40 Graff Racing Ligier rapidly closed the gap to the leading no76 Reiter Engineering Ligier, with David Droux challenging Mads Siljehaug at every turn with 5 minutes of the race remaining.



Siljehaug defended his position and Droux was forced to keep trying to find a way past the very wide Ligier. It looked like the Norwegian was going to hold his lead as the two cars started the last lap, however a minor mistake a few corners from home was the opportunity Droux had been waiting for and the Swiss driver took it, moving past the white Ligier to take the lead.



Siljehaug tried to regain the advantage at the last corner but it wasn’t to be and after the no76 Reiter Engineering Ligier had led for the entire race, they had to settle for second as David Droux took the chequered flag to win the race.



The no43 Racing Spirit of Leman took the final podium position as Josh Skelton crossed the 7.3 seconds behind Droux. Colin Noble took 4th place for Nielsen Racing ahead of Malthe Jakobsen in the no69 Cool Racing Ligier. The no10 Racing Spirit of Leman Ligier of Tom Dillmann finished 6th to secure the 2022 MLMC LMP3 titles.



The no44 Honda of Gustav Birch led a GMB Motorsport 1-2-3 to secure the 2022 MLMC GT3 team title for the Danish team and that all important automatic invitation to the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans next summer. Which one of the three crews will lift the drivers title will be decided at the final race in Portimão.



CLICK HERE for the result of the Spa-Francorchamps Round.






- LeMans Cup  also photos



    

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24.09.2022 / MaP

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