The first LMP3 win of the 2021 season has now been claimed as Cool Racing score their first LMP3 win at the Le Mans European series this weekend in Barcelona.
The number 19 Racing Liniger Nissian’s team saw Niklas Kruetten, Matt Bell and Nicolas Kruetten claim their win after a gruelling four hours on the Spanish track. This race saw sixteen cars start out – which was later described as a slow start with many of the drivers going wide on the start finish straight which shook up the order. The number two United Autosports Ligier led the race initially with the reigning champion Rob Wheldon. The number four DKR Engineering Duqueine was in second place with Laurents Horr behind the wheel and number fifteen RLR MSport Ligier of Michael Benham in third position.
As the amusing race rolled on, the lead gap had opened up to almost eight seconds by the fourteenth lap. Shortly after contact was made between the number three United Autosports Ligier driven by Andrew Bentley and the number thirteen Inter Europol Competition Ligier driven by Martin Hippe. Yet Cool Racing managed to score their first LMP3 win by holding firm throughout the first couple of hours. After the first one-hundred minutes, we saw the number six Nielsen Racing Ligier driven by Nick Adcock get tipped into an uncontrollable spin by number 26 (the G-Drive Racing Aurus of Franco Colapinto).
Later on as the race was coming up to the halfway mark, Laurents Horr held a strong seventy-eight second lead ahead of Mattia Pasini in number fourteen, along with Nocolas Maulini continuing to drive hard in third place. After two hours Horr pulled into the pits to hand the number four Duqueine to Alain Berg with Laulini controlling the Cool Racing Linier. At this stage Berg now had an eight second lead but was lapping just four seconds behind Kruetten. Only when we saw Kruetten head towards the pit to handover to Matt Bell did the gap to the lead shrink to less than five seconds.
With just twenty-four minutes left remaining in the race, Cool Racing claimed the lead spot and led from turn one. Malthe Jakobsen driving the RLR MSport Ligier overtook DKR Duquerine to claim second position trying hard to close the gap on Bell. Cool Racing score first LMP3 as Bell fought hard to maintain his leading position while losing grip on his Michelin tyres. When Matt passed the checkered flag he finished with just a 2.2 second lead on the clock earning the main podium position.
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