The second leg of the 2022-23 Le Mans Virtual Series is set to take place on Saturday (8th October 2022) at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. Before that, the 40 teams spread across the LMP and GTE classes had to hold their pair of qualifying sessions on Friday following the Le Mans Virtual Cup event.
With the GTEs out first, the No. 888 R8G Esports Ferrari 488 GTE took the pole position with pro driver Alexander Smolyar behind the wheel. The factory Ferrari, the No. 51 SF Velas Esports Team took the outside pole with Jordy Zwiers putting up the second best time.
When it moved over to the LMP class, it looked early on that Team Redline would be the ones to beat yet again. They were, and the No. 1 and No. 2 entries were split by the No. 20 Porsche Coanda LMP driven by Mitchell deJong taking the pole and teammate Joshua Rogers wheeling the No. 23 in between the Team Redline entries, finishing third.
LMP: DEJONG GRABS MONZA POLE IN CLOSING MOMENTS
There was drama in the closing moments at Monza as Mitchell deJong put his No. 20 Porsche Coanda LMP2 to the top of the pole out of virtually nowhere. The No. 20 spent the majority of the 20-minute qualifying session outside the Top 10 as other heavy hitters were trading spots near the top throughout.
Team Fordzilla’s No 966 with pro driver Luke Browning put a flying lap up early, but would fall quite far after a ton of later movement, not even making the Top 10. Team Redline’s No. 1 LMP took control with Maximilian Benecke constantly improving their lap at the top of the board throughout the period.
In the closing minutes, Diogo Pinto brought the No. 2 Team Redline LMP up to second and as time was set to expire, it looked like that’s how it would end up. The No. 101 GR Vector eSport started the chaos with driver Mattia Crupi breaking up the top two, and many others would follow suit.
The other Porsche Coanda entry, the No. 20 driven by Joshua Rogers, looked to have a shot at the pole, but missed out by 0.018 seconds. While nobody was looking, deJong snuck in and stole the pole with a blistering lap, 0.065 seconds faster than Benecke, who could not defend as he’d taken the checkers.
The No. 20 Porsche Coanda LMP will start on the pole alongside the No. 1 Team Redline LMP, with the No. 23 Porsche Coanda team in third, the No. 2 Team Redline team in fourth, and in fifth, R8G Esports ended their day with another positive effort, with Ulas Ozyildirim taking the No. 18 to fifth.
MONZA LMP QUALIFYING TOP 10
|1||20||Porsche Coanda||Mitchell deJong||1:32.695|
|2||1||Team Redline||Maximilian Benecke||1:32.760|
|3||23||Porsche Coanda||Joshua Rogers||1:32.778|
|4||2||Team Redline||Diogo Pinto||1:32.876|
|5||18||R8G ESPORTS||Ulas Ozyildirim||1:32.883|
|6||4||Floyd Vanwall-Burst||Jernej Simončič||1:32.889|
|7||63||AMG Team Petronas Esports||James Baldwin||1:32.895|
|8||36||Alpine Esports||Tom Lartilleux||1:32.941|
|9||101||GR Vector eSport||Mattia Crupi||1:32.949|
|10||8||R8G ESPORTS||Marcell Csincsik||1:32.976|
GTE: FERRARI FRONT ROW AT MONZA WITH R8G, SF VELAS
The ‘Pro’ driver for R8G Esports took the No. 888 Ferrari to the top of the pylon to kick off Monza qualifying on Friday. Early on, it looked like the No. 71 BMW Team Redline M8 driven by Kevin Siggy might be tracking towards another pole, but the session got crazy in the second half.
With just under eight minutes to go, the No. 77 Proton Coanda Esports was tracking towards the pole while towing their Porsche teammates in the No. 88. Strangely, Charlie Collins pulled it into the pits before completing the lap.
All of a sudden, Ferrari came out of nowhere and started taking over the control of the top. Jordy Zweirs put the No. 51 SF Velas Esports Team Ferrari on top first, but it was professional driver Alexander Smolyar, in the No. 888 R8G Esports Ferrari who would take the top.
Siggy was able to pick up to third best after falling as low as sixth, they’ll start next to another BMW M8 in the No. 89 BMW Team BS+COMPETITION machine, which was qualified by Ibraheem Khan. Patrick Schindler rounded out the Top 5 wheeling the No. 66 SIMMSA Esports Ferrari.
MONZA GTE QUALIFYING TOP 10
|POS||CAR #||TEAM||CAR (GTE)||DRIVER||TIME|
|1||888||R8G ESPORTS||Ferrari 488||Alexander Smolyar||1:44.296|
|2||51||SF Velas Esports Team||Ferrari 488||Jordy Zwiers||1:44.363|
|3||71||BMW Team Redline||BMW M8||Kevin Siggy||1:44.428|
|4||95||Prodrive FYRA Esport||Aston Martin Vantage||Lasse Sørensen||1:44.472|
|5||89||BMW Team BS+COMPETITION||BMW M8||Ibraheem Khan||1:44.477|
|6||66||SIMMSA Esports||Ferrari 488||Patrick Schindler||1:44.490|
|7||77||Proton Coanda Esports||Porsche 911 RSR||Charlie Collins||1:44.555|
|8||26||SIM Maranello||Ferrari 488||Christian Malghera||1:44.595|
|9||88||Proton Coanda Esports||Porsche 911 RSR||Kevin van Dooren||1:44.626|
|10||64||Satellite Racing||Aston Martin Vantage||Jimi Nisula||1:44.684|
The Le Mans Virtual Series 4 Hours of Monza will start on Saturday 8th October at 13:00 BST / 14:00 CEST / 05:00 PT / 08:00 ET. The broadcast will start around 30 minutes earlier for the start of pre-race coverage.