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WEC NEWS 

Mathias Beche puts TDS on pole for European Le Mans Series opener at Paul Ricard

Switzerland's Mathias Beche claimed pole position for the opening round of the European Le Mans Series at Paul Ricard this weekend.

Beche posted two laps good enough for pole to head the 11-car LMP2 field in the TDS Racing ORECA-Nissan 03 he shares with Pierre Thiriet. His best time of 1m48.171s put him three tenths of a second clear of Yelmer Buurman in the Status GP team's Lola-Judd/BMW B12/80.

"Guys like Stephane Sarrazin [who qualified the Sebastien Loeb Racing ORECA in seventh place] have always been the reference for me," said Beche, twice an LMP2 class winner in last year's Le Mans Series. "To be ahead with exactly the same car, engine and tyres means a lot to me and the team."

Tom Kimber-Smith, last year's LMS LMP2 champion, ended up third fastest with a time four tenths slower than Buurman. Guillaume Moreau was fourth in OAK Racing's Morgan-Judd/BMW.

British-based Italian Massimo Vignali, who has graduated from the SPEED EuroSeries, ended up fastest in the two-car LMPC field with the Boutsen Energy team.

Jaime Melo took the GTE Pro category pole on his return to JMB Racing, the team with which he started his sportscar career in 2004. His time of 1m57.630s was seven tenths quicker than the next best GTE car, the Am class ProSpeed Porsche driven by Marc Goossens.

The ELMS takes over from the LMS following the creation of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The LMP2 class should provide the overall winner following the decision to do away with LMP1 prototypes from the rebranded series.

Pos  Cl     Drivers                       Team/Car                     Time
 1.  P2     Beche/Thiriet                 TDS ORECA-Nissan             1m48.171s
 2.  P2     Buurman/Sims/Stirling         Status Lola-Judd             1m48.482s
 3.  P2     Ordonez/Kimber-Smith/Brundle  Greaves Zytek-Nissan         1m48.882s
 4.  P2     Nicolet/Moreau/Kraihamer      OAK Morgan-Judd              1m48.977s
 5.  P2     Perez Companc/Bruni/Kaffer    Pecom ORECA-Nissan           1m49.068s
 6.  P2     Firth/Hughes/Moro             Murphy ORECA-Nissan          1m49.122s
 7.  P2     Marroc/Minassian/Sarrazin     Loeb ORECA-Nissan            1m49.157s
 8.  P2     Dolan/Hancock                 Jota Zytek-Nissan            1m49.687s
 9.  P2     Frey/Meichtry/Hirschi         Race Performance ORECA-Judd  1m50.193s
10.  PC     Dagoneau/Vignali/Merlin       Boutsen Ginion FLM           1m55.338s
11.  PC     Hartshorne/Keen/Kapadia       Curtis FLM                   1m55.410s
12.  GTE P  Melo/Frezza                   JMB Ferrari                  1m57.630s
13.  GTE A  Goossens/Soulet               Prospeed Porsche             1m58.388s
14.  GTE A  Armindo/Narac/Pons            Imsa Porsche                 1m58.428s
15.  GTE P  Walker/Cocker                 JMW Ferrari                  1m58.517s
16.  GTE A  Goethe/Hall                   Gulf Aston Martin            1m58.532s
17.  GTE A  Cioci/Griffin/Perazzini       AF Ferrari                   1m58.803s
18.  GTE P  Broniszewski/Peter            Kessel Ferrari               1m59.082s
19.  GTE A  Ferte/Illiano                 JMB Ferrari                  2m00.182s
20.  P2     Rosier/Thirion                Extreme Limite Norma-Judd
21.  P2     Clarke/Briere/Buemi           Boutsen Ginion ORECA-Nissan
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