A tough start in the European Le Mans Series for Matteo Cairoli

The inaugural weekend of the European Le Mans Series 2024 wasn’t so good for Matteo Cairoli, who was forced to retire from the 4 Hours of Barcelona due to an engine issue. The driver from Como, after five seasons spent fighting for the championship in the LMGTE class, made his debut in the main class of the series with the Oreca 07 #9 of Iron Lynx-Proton, next to his teammates Jonas Ried and Macéo Capietto. The beginning of the weekend saw Cairoli and his co-drivers work on the race pace, taking time away from qualifying preparation to optimize the performance of the car for Sunday. This led Matteo to end the qualifying round in 12th overall position, only four tenths away from the Top-5.

The first half of the race saw the #9 line-up gain positions, thanks to Reid’s amazing start and an even too aggressive stint by Capietto, which led Iron Lynx – Proton’s LMP2 up until fifth place. Therefore, Cairoli went out on track with the goal of continuing to gain positions and conquer important points for the championship; however, after a drive-through penalty handed to Capietto for speeding in the pitlane, the car started to face some engine issues, which limited its performance. After losing a couple of positions, Cairoli was forced to surrender and retire the car with only twenty minutes to go.

The next round of the European Le Mans Series will go underway on the Circuit Paul Ricard, with the 4 Hours of Le Castellet scheduled for Sunday, May 5.

Matteo Cairoli
“It really was a shame to haven’t been able to finish the 4 Hours of Barcelona. In the first half of the weekend, we focused on the race pace, and I was actually the most consistent driver. This strategy allowed us to be very strong in the initial phases of the race. Then, when I took the wheel of the LMP2, I tried to do my best, but the engine problems started to show up, damaging our pace and forcing us to retire. I still want to thank both Iron Lynx – Proton for the work, and Jonas and Macéo for trying their best from the very first lap to the last one. It certainly wasn’t the start of the season we wanted, but I can’t wait to be back battling for the top in Le Castellet next month.”