The first Free Practice for the Red Bull Ring Four-Hour race, the third round of the 2018 European Le Mans Series took place on Friday morning under sunny skies and Racing Engineering used the ninety-minute session to allow their French drivers, Norman Nato, Paul Petit and Olivier Pla to set up their Oreca 07-Gibson for the Austrian circuit. Once again, as in the previous two rounds, the Spanish team were right on the pace with Norman setting the second fastest time of 1:20.070. Underlining just how competitive the LMP2 class is this year the Racing Engineering car was just 0.003 seconds second behind the fastest car with the third fastest car only .024 further back, in fact the top seven LMP2 cars were separated by 0.5 seconds.
Saturday morning’s Free Practice session saw the weather cloudier with the threat of rain and a little cooler with both air and track temperatures of 16° and 20° respectively. Norman drove for the first thirty-five minutes, setting a best time of 1:19.832, third fastest at the time. Paul then took over the driving duties, but as the session reached the one-hour mark, the rain began to fall, and Paul returned to the pits to have wet tyres fitted and hand over to Olivier. Lap times were now about fourteen seconds a lap slower than in the dry but Olivier, using all his experience, was one of the quickest drivers on the very slippery track even though several yellow flags interrupted his laps. At the end of the session Norman’s earlier fast lap left the Racing Engineering car third fastest.