Points but no actual prizes for IEC in Barcelona European Le Mans Series

14 April 2024

The opening round of the 2024 European Le Mans Series took place at Circuit de Catalunya Barcelona. For the Inter Europol Competition, it was satisfying to see all three prototypes secure valuable championship points. However, we were also a little disappointed that we could not secure podium-placed finishes in Sunday’s (April 14, 2024) four-hour event.

The team’s look, feel and brand were further enhanced for the new season and eight – of the nine – drivers were new to the Polish-based squad.

The #43 LMP2 Oreca, driven by Sebastian Alvarez, Vlad Lomko, and Tom Dillmann, enjoyed the better run from sixth position on the grid. Seb made most of the opportunities to move fifth on the opening lap and then made further gains throughout his impressive opening double stint.

Some great passes, such as on the #22 around the outside into turn one, saw him run second for much of his run before the Mexican racer enjoyed a brief spell at the front of the field.

Things got more complicated for Vlad in the subsequent two runs. The initial pace was there, but unfortunately, a small mistake later on the worn tyres saw him lose time and rhythm and dropped from P4 to P9 over a handful of laps, underlining how close the field is in LMP2 competition.

Despite Vlad and Tom’s considerable efforts, the #43 trio had to be content with sixth position at the end of the race.

Luca Ghiotto qualified the #34 LMP2 Oreca seventh, with teammate Ollie Gray charged with the opening two stints.

The British driver ran tenth for much of his time in the car, with Clément Novalak next in the car. He made gains to run seventh and could extract the best from the package. Luca had the final two stints, again showing some excellent pace, taking the chequered flag in eighth place.

To the right-hand side of the garage, the Ligier LMP3 trio of Alex Bukhantsov, Kai Askey and Pedro Perino certainly enjoyed the opening hour of the race, with the former able to vault two positions to fourth at the start.

He ran as high as second, but a quick spin cost him three places. Some contact from passing LMP2 didn’t help things in terms of handling, and therefore, for both Kai and then Pedro, it was a tougher afternoon behind the wheel, ultimately finishing sixth.

After a long testing programme in Barcelona followed by the European Le Mans Series Barcelona round, Inter Europol leaves the Spanish venue very much looking forward to the next event at Circuit Paul Ricard on May 5.

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