Saint-Aunés-based Thiriet by TDS Racing with its #46 Nissan-powered ORECA 05 ran a faultless race to make it three-in-a -row in the 2016 European Le Mans Series with victory in the fourth round at Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet.
The win gives Thiriet by TDS Racing an eight point lead in the LMP2 Teams Classification over the previously- leading G-Drive Racing.
Pierre Thiriet, Mathias Beche and, new for this round, Mike Conway took a lights-to-flag victory in their ORECA 05. Toyota Gazoo Racing LMP1 driver Conway was especially delighted in the win in only his first race with the team.
“Being the home race, this was really special for the team,” said Conway. “We’ve got a great team who have done a mega job with the car. Pierre and Mathias did an amazing job out there. I’m really happy for the win. It’s my first one of the year but they’re adding to the tally. It’s a good weekend.”
In second place was the #32 SMP Racing Nissan-powered SMP 01 with the driver line-up of Stefano Colleti, Julian Lean and Andreas Wirth. Taking the final podium spot after a frenetic last ten minutes was the #21 DragonSpeed ORECA 05 driven by Henrik Hedman, Nicolas Lapiere and Ben Hanley.
LPM2 Teams Classification-leading #38 G-Drive Racing struggled to find pace in the Gibson 015S all weekend. After qualifying ninth, the Kent-based team, with the regular 2016 European Le Mans Series driving line-up of Harry Tincknell, Simon Dolan and Giedo van der Garde , climbed as high as second during Tincknell’s opening stint. Dolan kept the #38 car at the podium positions and handed the over to van der Garde in fourth position. However the pace of the newer chassis showed during the closing laps and van der Garde did well to retain fifth and keep the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP2-winning team in a solid second place in the LMP2 Teams Classification with two rounds of the 2016 European Le Mans Series still to run.
Graff Racing, with its #9 Ligier JS P3 driven by Eric Trouillet, Paul Petit and Enzo Guibbert, took its first victory of the season in LMP3 after a disappointing weekend for United Autosports who, after back-to-back wins in the first three rounds of the series, could only finish third at Circuit Paul Ricard. United Autosports had been struggling to find straight line speed during the weekend but will be heartened by the fact that its third position with the #2 Ligier JS P3 consolidates its first place in the LMP3 Teams Classification.
Second in LMP3 was the #19 Duqueine Engineering Ligier JS P3, driven by David Hallyday, Dino Lunardi and David Droux. The #19 car now holds a solid second place in the Teams Classification on 60 points,
Great drives from Rob Smith, Rory Butcher and Andrea Bertolini saw victory in the LMGTE class go to the #66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari F458 Italia. The win looked in doubt after the #66 car had to call in to the pits for a late splash-and-dash. However the #60 Formula Racing Ferrari F458 Italia, driven by Johnny Laursen , Mikkel Mac and Mikkel Jensen also had to stop which allowed the #66 car to retain the lead in the class.
The #60 Formula Racing Ferrari F458 Italia took second place with the final podium spot going to the #99 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage driven by Andrew Howard, Darren Turner and Alex Macdowall.
JMW Motorsport now moves into the lead in the LMGTE Teams Classification on 68 points with the #99 Aston Martin Racing team second on 62.
The fifth round of the 2016n European Le Mans Series takes place at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on September 25.