European Le Mans Series

Thiriet by TDS Racing Wins Rain-Soaked ELMS At Imola

The #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing Nissan—powered ORECA 05, driven by Pierre Thiriet, Ryō Hirakawa and Mathias Beche, took the top step of the podium at the second round of the European Le Mans Series at Imola.

Second was the #38 G-Drive Racing Gibson 015S in which Simon Dolan took the start, followed by Harry Tincknell and Giedo Van der Garde. Taking the last podium position was the #21 DragonSpeed ORECA 05-Nissan, driven by Nicolas Lapierre, Henrik Hedman and Ben Hanley.

The race finished in a frustrating manner for competitors and spectators alike as torrential rain forced the organisers to call a full course yellow with an hour to go. The race was then further neutralised by a safety car, under which it finished.

In LMP2 the pole-sitting #21 DragonSpeed with Lapierre at the wheel led from from the start. The #23 Panis-Barthez Compétition Ligier JS P2, with Paul-Loup Chatin driving, took the lead after an hour during the driver changes. As the raced approached the half-way mark Ryō Hirakawa, at the wheel of the #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing ORECA 05, overtook Fabien Barthez in the #23 car for the lead and thereafter the #46 car controlled the race from the front.

The #38 G-Drive Racing Gibson 015S had a promising beginning to the four hour race when Simon Dolan took the start for the Kent-based team from fifth on the grid and handed the car over to Harry Tincknell in the same position. Tincknell pushed hard to get the car into the podium positions and Giedo Van der Garde had got the car into second place with the promise of more to come when the rain struck. It was clear the venerable Gibson 015S had the pace but the lengthy full course yellow and safety car did not allow the team the opportunity to push for the lead.

In LMP3 the #2 United Autosports Ligier JS P3, driven by Alex Brundle, Michael Guasch and Christian England took the victory, the car’s second of the season, to gain a commanding lead in the series. The #2 car passed the sister #3 car in the opening stages of the race, the #3 car, driven by Mark Patterson, Matthew Bell and Wayne Boyd, eventually finishing seventh in class due to having to serve a drive-through penalty.

Second in the LMP3 class was the #11 Eurointernational Ligier JS P3 driven by Giorgio Mondini, Andrea Roda and Marco Jacobini, a car that ran strongly throughout the race. Taking the final podium spot was the #16 Panis-Barthez Compétition Ligier JS P3 driven by Éric Debard, Valentin Moineault and Simon Gachet, concluding a satisfying day for the French team.

LMGTE was dominated by the #77 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR 991 driven by Michael Hedlund, Wolf Henzler and Robert Renauer. The #77 car led the class from the start with Renauer putting in a faultless opening double stint. Although the team knew the car was competitive, the pace and consistency of the car was undoubtedly a very pleasant surprise for the Ummendorf-based team. Second in class was the #66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari F458 Italia with its driver line-up of Robert Smith, Rory Butcher and Andrea Bertolini. Third was the #56 AT Racing Ferrari F458 Italia driven by Duncan Cameron, Matt Griffin and Aaron Scott.

In the Teams Classification the #38 G-Drive Racing leads LMP2 with 43 points. LMP3 is led by the #2 United Autosports entry with 50 points while the #99 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage leads the LMGTE category with 35 points.

The third round of the 2016 European Le Mans Series will be held at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on July 17.

Leave a Reply