Imola ELMS: TDS duo Beche and Thiriet win after Jota battle
|By Gary Watkins||Saturday, May 18th 2013, 18:27 GMT|
Reigning European Le Mans Series champions Mathias Beche and Pierre Thiriet claimed victory in the Imola 3 Hours for the TDS Racing squad.
Beche, who was racing the team's ORECA-Nissan 03 for the first time this season, and Thiriet were on top in a closely-fought battle with the Jota Sport when the Simon Dolan lost time when he spun the British team's Zytek-Nissan Z11SN in the final hour.
That allowed Thiriet to take a clear victory, nearly 50 seconds up on the Signatech Alpine team's ORECA-Nissan 03 shared by Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues.
Beche said: "Pierre did an amazing job today, I am very proud of him. He had the pace on Dolan, so we deserved to win today."
The Morand Racing Morgan-Judd/BMW LMP2 came home third in the hands of Franck Mailleux and Natacha Gachnang, a lap down on the top two.
The Swiss team inherited the position when the Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan shared by Tom Kimber-Smith and David Heinemeier Hansson was given a one-minute stop-go penalty for a pitlane infringement at its final pitstop.
The Greaves car ended up fifth behind the Race Performance ORECA-Judd/BMW shared by Patric Niederhauser and Michel Frey.
The Jota Sport Zytek, in which Oliver Turvey had led throughout the first stint, did not finish. Alternator failure resulting from Dolan's spin caused the car to stop out on the circuit with four minutes to go.
The new-for-2013 Ram Racing Ferrari team took its first victory in only its third race, and second in the ELMS, after Matt Griffin and Johnny Mowlem dominated the GTE class.
Griffin battled with the ProSpeed Porsche 911 GT3-RSR of Patrick Long for the first hour, only losing the lead on his final lap of his opening stint with a fuel-surge problem. He was subsequently able to move his Ferrari 458 Italia into a clear lead when Patrick Milesi took over the Belgian team's car.
Victory in the one-make LMPC class went to the Team Endurance Challenge ORECA-Chevrolet FLM09 shared by Gary Hirsch and Paul-Loup Chatin, which led the category from start to finish.
The Russian SMP Racing team's Ferrari 458 Italia shared by Kirill Ladygin, Victor Shaitar and Fabio Babini claimed GTC honours.
Results - 108 laps: Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap 1. P2 Thiriet/Beche TDS ORECA-Nissan 3h00m13.017s 2. P2 Ragues/Panciatici Signatech Alpine-Nissan + 46.236s 3. P2 Gachnang/Mailleux Morand Morgan-Judd + 1 laps 4. P2 Frey/Niederhauser Race Performance ORECA-Judd + 1 laps 5. P2 Heinemeier Hansson/Kimber-Smith Greaves Zytek-Nissan + 1 laps 6. P2 Hartley/Patterson Murphy ORECA-Nissan + 3 laps 7. PC Chatin/Hirsch Endurance FLM + 5 laps 8. GTE Mowlem/Griffin Ram Ferrari + 6 laps 9. PC Pons/Ayari Endurance FLM + 6 laps 10. PC Loan/Lecuyer Endurance FLM + 6 laps 11. GTE Perazzini/Cioci/Leo AF Ferrari + 7 laps 12. GTE Jeannette/Montecalvo Ram Ferrari + 7 laps 13. GTE Bertolini/Camathias JMW Ferrari + 7 laps 14. P2 Briere/Dagoneau/Hartshorne Boutsen ORECA-Nissan + 7 laps 15. GTE Ried/Roda/Ruberti Proton Porsche + 7 laps 16. GTE Milesi/Long Imsa Porsche + 8 laps 17. GTC Babini/Shaitar/Ladygin SMP Ferrari + 8 laps 18. GTC Rizzoli/Gai/Case AF Ferrari + 9 laps 19. GTC Millroy/Smith/Twyman Ecosse BMW + 11 laps 20. GTE Mallegol/Bachelier/Blank AF Ferrari + 11 laps 21. GTC Mediani/Zlobin/Rotenberg SMP Ferrari + 11 laps 22. GTC Markozov/Evstigneev/Frolov SMP Ferrari + 12 laps 23. P2 Burgess/Hirschi HWM Status Lola-Judd + 19 laps Retirements: P2 Dolan/Turvey Jota Zytek-Nissan 101 laps GTC Kox/Pronk Kox Lamborghini 97 laps P2 Porta/Brandela/Delhez DKR Lola-Judd 89 laps GTC Bader/Derdaele/Giermaziak Megatron Audi 60 laps GTE Perrodo/Crubile Prospeed Porsche 43 laps