Yellow flags and track limits disrupt pace at Michelin Le Mans Cup opening round
Alex Mortimer and Mark Crader made their debut for Optimum Motorsport at the opening round of the 2022 Michelin Le Mans Cup on Saturday at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet.
Due to the high amount of traffic on track during qualifying, the #20 Duqueine M30 D08 lined up 22nd on the grid for Saturday afternoon’s race after navigating a 31-car field during the morning's session.
Mark was at the wheel for the start of the newly formatted 110-minute race (races had previously run for 2 hours), aiming to move up the field as the lights went green. During his stint, Mark displayed impressive form in his battle with United's #2 LMP3 driven by Shaun Lynn.
Having taken over from his bronze co-driver, Alex headed out around the 3.59-mile circuit to be met with a full course yellow as COOL Racing’s #69 LMP3 was towed back to their pit after becoming stranded at turn 5.
In the end, despite track limit warnings after running wide at turns 7 and 8, the team received a drive-through penalty which Alex served with 17 minutes left in the race.
Alex set the pace in the latter stages, catching those in front to run within the top 20. An unfortunate mishap involving speeding infringements under yellow flag conditions whilst Mark was piloting the car in the early stages of the race came to light whilst Alex was at the wheel, seeing him once again, serve another penalty, taking the chequered flag in 24th.
The LMP3 racing action will resume in less than four weeks’ time where Imola, Italy, will play host to round two of the Michelin Le Mans Cup.