Conditions were much improved for today’s opening round of the European Le Mans Series at Paul Ricard with the sun shining brightly and air and track temperatures of 18° and 22° respectively. Norman Nato was starting the race for Racing Engineering, after qualifying the Spanish team’s Oreca 07-Gibson fourth, and as the clock reached twelve o’clock the cars took the rolling start and as the drivers took the first corner Norman gained a place to take third position. For the next two laps Norman chased the Duqueine Engineering Oreca until, on lap three in a beautifully timed move, he slipstreamed the French team’s car down the main straight, pulling out and easily taking second place under braking.
Norman now began to close in on the leader, the DragonSpeed Oreca of fellow Frenchman, the very experienced, Nicolas Lapierre and, after eleven laps, the gap was down to 1.8 seconds and he was now 7.2 seconds ahead of the Duqueine Engineering car. The Racing Engineering car lost a couple of seconds lapping slower LM GTE cars and, with thirty minutes gone, Norman was lying second, 5.6 seconds behind Lapierre and 11.1 seconds ahead of the Alpine A470 of André Negräo in third.
On lap twenty-two Lapierre lost a lot of time trying to pass a slower Porsche allowing Norman to close the gap dramatically as both the DragonSpeed car and the Racing Engineering car dived into the pits to refuel and change tyres but neither team making a driver change and, when they resumed racing, the gap was down to 2.8 seconds. Once again Norman began to close the gap to the leader and at twenty-five laps the Spanish car was just 1.9 seconds behind.