Olsen returns with LMP3 Cup pole despite difficult Silverstone conditions

Olsen returns with LMP3 Cup pole despite difficult Silverstone conditions

Christian Olsen made a statement on his LMP3 Cup return as the young Dane secured pole position for Ecurie Ecosse / Nielsen Racing in difficult conditions on Silverstone’s Grand Prix circuit. Quickest out of the blocks on a damp track, Olsen set the early pace and went quicker again at the end of the session to hold on to top spot ahead of this afternoon’s one-hour race.

“It was typical weather conditions for here, meaning adverse,” said Olsen. “The car felt really, really good. I’m still finding time on the brakes and where the tarmac is going to grip. There was a dry line forming and there were dry patches, so I had to sacrifice some of the ideal lines to make sure I was on the dry parts, but there’s water running across in other places.”

Pushing him was team-mate Bonamy Grimes in the Red River Sport / Nielsen Racing Norma M30, the team switching to the car for the final weekend of the season. Grimes briefly went fastest before Olsen fought back to go fastest by an eventual 0.621s.

“The Norma feels really good,” said Grimes. “It communicates well which gives me confidence and allows me to push further. It was difficult against Christian as he’s a quick driver, but to clear the other Am drivers by two seconds is brilliant. I thought this was my chance to get a pole, but I just couldn’t hook the lap up. We’ll have some fun in the race.”

Third quickest was Dominic Paul in the Speedworks Motorsport Ligier, who pipped 2018 champion Tony Wells by two tenths of a second, though he admitted the car wasn’t where he wanted and there is more pace to come.

“The track was changing very quickly,” said Paul. “We changed the setup from this morning, but it is still far from right and I couldn’t get heat into the tyres, so we need to work on that before the race. We’ve had an unlucky season: the pace has been there, but we haven’t been able to capitalise on that and turn it into results. Some of it is luck and some mistakes but I guess it’s all learning.”

Qualifying result

1) Christian Olsen - #7 Ecurie Ecosse / Nielsen Racing (Ligier JS P3)

2) Bonamy Grimes - #2 Red River Sport / Nielsen Racing (Norma M30) +0.621s

3) Dominic Paul - #96 Speedworks Motorsport (Ligier JS P3) +2.726s