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Pescarolo duo claim Le Mans Series LMP1 title with Estoril win

Julien Jousse and Emmanuel Collard claimed the Le Mans Series LMP1 drivers' title for sportscar legend Henri Pescarolo's team in a thrilling six-hour race at Estoril.

The French pair came out on top in a battle with championship rivals Andrea Belicchi and Jean-Christophe Boullion that lasted nearly the whole distance. The two cars were rarely separated by more than a handful of seconds until the very final stages.

Jousse, who had a new set of Michelin tyres for the run to the flag, emerged from the final pitstop sequence with a lead of less than two seconds. Boullion was initially able to pressure the Pescarolo aboard the Rebellion Racing Lola-Toyota, but was unable to maintain the challenge on tyres that were already a stint old and then fell off the lead lap when a puncture forced him into the pits.

Pescarolo regular Christophe Tinseau had been due to drive the final stint, but the team opted to keep Jousse in the car because the battle was so close.

Rebellion claimed the teams' title by one point, which came courtesy of Neel Jani's pole position. The Swiss led early on in the car he shared with Nicolas Prost, before a long stop for gearbox repairs put them out of contention.

The top LMP2 finisher, the TDS Racing ORECA-Nissan, ended up claiming the final spot on the overall podium. Jody Firth, Mathias Beche and Pierre Thiriet inherited the spot on the penultimate lap when Dominik Kraihamer went off the track in the similar car fielded by the Boutsen Energy team after a brake disc exploded.

The GTE Am class produced the best action of the weekend. JMW Ferrari duo Rob Bell and James Walker came out on top in an ultra-close battle with the Felbermayr-Proton Porsche driven by Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz.

The JMW team got Bell out ahead of Lietz at the final round of pitstops and the Briton was able to withstand intense pressure through the final stages to take class honours by 0.183s.

Results - 225 laps:

Pos  Cl     Drivers                             Team/Car                         Time/Gap
 1.  LMP1   Collard/Tinseau/Jousse              Pescarolo-Judd               6h00m24.815s
 2.  LMP1   Belicchi/Boullion                   Rebellion Lola-Toyota             + 1 lap
 3.  LMP2   Beche/Thiriet/Firth                 TDS ORECA-Nissan                 + 6 laps
 4.  LMP2   Ojjeh/Lombard/Kimber-Smith          Greaves Zytek-Nissan             + 8 laps
 5.  LMP2   Rosier/Mello-Breyner/Mello-Breyner  Extreme Limite  Norma-Judd      + 15 laps
 6.  GTE-P  Bell/Walker                         JMW Ferrari                     + 16 laps
 7.  GTE-P  Lieb/Lietz                          Felbermayr-Proton Porsche       + 16 laps
 8.  LMP2   Frey/Meichtry/Hirschi               Race Performance ORECA-Judd     + 17 laps
 9.  GTE-P  Pilet/Henzler                       IMSA Performance Porsche        + 18 laps
10.  GTE-P  Melo/Vilander                       AF Corse Ferrari                + 19 laps
11.  GTE-A  Armindo/Narac                       IMSA Performance Porsche        + 20 laps
12.  FLM    Schultis/Simon/Schell               Pegasus FLM                     + 21 laps
13.  GTE-P  Dolan/Hancock                       Jota Aston Martin               + 21 laps
14.  FLM    Kutemann/Marroc                     JMB FLM                         + 22 laps
15.  GTE-A  Hummel/Quaife/Christodoulou         CRS Ferrari                     + 22 laps
16.  GTE-A  Ried/Felbermayr                     Felbermayr-Proton Porsche       + 23 laps
17.  LMP2   Gates/Garofall/Hughes               RLR MG Lola-Judd                + 24 laps
18.  LMP2   Leventis/Watts/Kane                 Strakka HPD                     + 24 laps
19.  GTE-P  Rodrigues/Ballay/Ayari              JMB Ferrari                     + 28 laps
20.  LMP1   Prost/Jani                          Rebellion Lola-Toyota           + 38 laps
21.  FLM    Hartshorne/Kapadia/Graves           Neil Garner FLM                 + 52 laps
22.  GTE-A  Perazzini/Cioci/Lemeret             AF Corse Ferrari                + 61 laps


     LMP2   Kraihamer/Ebbesvik                  Boutsen Energy ORECA-Nissan      218 laps
     GTE-P  Farnbacher/Simonsen                 Farnbacher Ferrari                99 laps
     LMP2   Perez Companc/Russo/Kaffer          Pecom Lola-Judd                   97 laps
     GTE-P  Fisichella/Bruni                    AF Corse Ferrari                  11 laps
     GTE-P  Goossens/Holzer                     Prospeed Porsche                   2 laps
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Jani puts Rebellion on Estoril pole