Jota wins eventful ELMS race at Imola
|Sunday, May 18th 2014, 16:28 GMT|
Jota Sport put its massive Silverstone crash behind it by winning an engrossing European Le Mans Series race at Imola with Simon Dolan, Filipe Albuquerque and Harry Tincknell.
The Jota, Morand, TDS, Signatech and Murphy teams all had shots at victory over four hours of twists and turns in which dramas kept hitting cars just as they seemed to have the race under control.
The last such incident befell ex-Formula 1 driver Christian Klien with only five minutes to go. He appeared on course for Morand Racing's first ELMS win after passing Dolan 23 minutes from the finish, only for his Morgan to cut out.
It re-fired and allowed him to continue in fourth for a while before stopping again on the last lap.
Klien was one of several high-profile drivers with whom Dolan had battled doggedly during his stints.
After the Austrian's problem, the Briton was able to cruise home with a half-minute cushion over the Sebastien Loeb Racing ORECA of Vincent Capillaire and Jan Charouz, which moved up the order as the drama ahead unfolded, and had a scare of its own with a penalty for an unsafe pit release.
Signatech ended up third with Oliver Webb, Paul-Loup Chatin and Nelson Panciatici.
It had been Jota's main rival in the first stint, before problems refiring after a pitstop delayed it, and then the timing of a safety car for kerb repairs after an incident at Acque Minerali skewed its strategy.
Just before his dice with Klien, Dolan had been under pressure from the Silverstone-winning TDS Morgan of Tristan Gommendy, who squeezed down the inside into Tamburello to take the lead, before brake problems forced the car into the garage for repairs a few laps later.
Murphy Prototypes also had the pace to fight for victory, but was delayed by first a puncture then a penalty for contact between Rodolfo Gonzalez and Romain Brandela in the Morand car. A gearbox failure then halted its ORECA.
Andrea Bertolini earned GTE victory for SMP Racing's Ferrari with a last-lap pass on Kessel Ferrari driver Thomas Kemenater, whose team-mate Matteo Cresseoni had built a commanding lead in the opening stages. The JMW Ferrari was a close third.
GTC was also extremely tight at the finish, as Formula Racing trio Andrea Piccini, Johnny Laursen and Mikkel Mac kept their Ferrari ahead of SMP's two GT3-spec machines.
Leading results - 139 laps/four hours: Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap 1. P2 Dolan/Tincknell/Albuquerque Jota Zytek-Nissan 4h00m04.690s 2. P2 Capillaire/Charouz Loeb ORECA-Nissan +28.869s 3. P2 Chatin/Panciatici/Webb Signatech Alpine-Nissan +42.579s 4. P2 Kimber-Smith/McMurray Greaves Zytek-Nissan -1 lap 5. P2 Thiriet/Badey/Gommendy TDS Morgan-Nissan -2 laps 6. P2 Schell/Leutwiler/Coleman Pegasus Morgan-Nissan -2 laps 7. GTE Bertolini/Shaitar/Zlobin SMP Ferrari -5 laps 8. GTE Kemenater/Cressoni Kessel Ferrari -5 laps 9. GTE McKenzie/Richardson/Zampiere JMW Ferrari -5 laps 10. GTE Talkanitsa/Talkanitsa/Kaffer AT Ferrari -6 laps Other class winners: 14. GTC Laursen/Mac/Piccini Formula Ferrari -7 laps