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ELMS Imola: TDS Racing takes victory with Gommendy/Thiriet/Badey

The TDS Racing squad claimed its first outright European Le Mans Series race win since last year's Silverstone season opener with victory at Imola

Tristan Gommendy's off at Acque Minerali in qualifying meant that the team's ORECA-Nissan 05 started down in ninth place, but Pierre Thiriet quickly climbed to second during the opening stint.

The team's cause was aided by a safety-car period after 19 laps triggered by gravel being dragged onto the track by Henry Hassid, who was recovering from an excursion in the LM GTE-class Marc VDS BMW Z4 GTE.

This eradicated a lead of almost 19 seconds that had been built by Harry Tincknell, who started first after team-mate Filipe Albuquerque put their Jota Sport Gibson-Nissan 015S on pole.

Ludovic Badey, who took over from Thiriet, took the lead when Simon Dolan later brought the Jota car into the pits from the lead under the second safety car thanks to shedding a chunk of front-left bodywork after hitting a kerb in traffic.

At the restart, Badey immediately pulled out a 20-second lead thanks to Gary Hirsch, who was in second place in the Greaves Motorsport car that had been started by Bjorn Wirdheim, spun emerging from the last corner as the race got back underway.

Badey pitted to hand over to 2002 Macau Grand Prix winner Gommendy with 90 minutes remaining, allowing the team's platinum-rated driver to complete the maximum allowed stint to the finish of the race.

The Frenchman easily controlled the lead in the closing stages, crossing the line 12.140s clear of the Murphy Prototypes ORECA-Nissan O3R.

The Murphy entry started second in the hands of 63-year-old American Mark Patterson, who held second in the early laps before being shuffled backwards.

But a strong double stint from Michael Lyons and Nathanael Berthon's rapid run to the flag allowed the car to finish in second place.

Jota took third place, with Albuquerque handling the car to the finish - holding onto the position despite having to dive into the pits at the start of the final lap.

Jon Lancaster brought the Greaves car home a lapped fourth, with the time lost to Hirsch's spin combined with a slightly offset strategy thanks to having stopped under the first safety car leaving the Silverstone-winning car outside of the top three.

The GTE class produced a dramatic battle that went down to the wire, with Alessandro Pier Guidi securing victory for the AF Corse-run AT Racing Ferrari squad with less than 15 minutes remaining.

Pier Guidi, sharing with Alexander Talkanitsa Sr and Jr, battled passed the Formula Racing Ferrari driven by Andrea Rizzoli, who then almost immediately slipped to third after being passed by Marco Mapelli's Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR.

In the second race for the new LMP3 category, again populated exclusively by Ginettas, the University of Bolton machine driven by Rob Garofall and Morten Dons took the spoils.

AF Corse won the GTC class for GT3 machinery with Rino Mastronardi, Francesco Castellacci and Stuart Hall taking victory in their Ferrari 458 Italia.

RESULT - 138 LAPS

Pos Class Driver Team Car Gap
1 LMP2 P.Thiriet, L.Badey, T.Gommendy Thiriet by TDS Racing ORECA/Nissan 4h01m08.999s
2 LMP2 N.Berthon, M.Lyons, M.Patterson Murphy Prototypes ORECA/Nissan 12.140s
3 LMP2 S.Dolan, F.Albuquerque, H.Tincknell JOTA Sport Gibson/Nissan 3m01.530s
4 LMP2 G.Hirsch, B.Wirdheim, J.Lancaster Greaves Motorsport Gibson/Nissan 1 Lap
5 LMP2 T.Krohn, N.Jonsson, O.Negri Krohn Racing Ligier/Judd 1 Lap
6 LMP2 I.Bellarosa, J.Ibanez Ibanez Racing ORECA/Nissan 2 Laps
7 LMP2 P.Jun Jin, N.de Bruijn Eurasia Motorsport ORECA/Nissan 2 Laps
8 LMP2 M.Aleshin, A.Ladygin, K.Ladygin SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 6 Laps
9 LMGTE A.Talkanitsa, A.Talkanitsa Jr., A.P.Guidi AT Racing Ferrari 6 Laps
10 LMGTE R.Lietz, M.Mapelli, C.Ried Proton Competition Porsche 6 Laps
11 LMGTE J.Laursen, M.Mac, A.Rizzoli Formula Racing Ferrari 6 Laps
12 LMGTE A.Priaulx, H.Hassid, J.Krohn BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS BMW 6 Laps
13 LMGTE D.Cameron, M.Griffin, A.Scott AF Corse Ferrari 6 Laps
14 LMGTE G.Richardson, R.Smith, S.Tordoff JMW Motorsport Ferrari 8 Laps
15 LMGTE P.Mann, R.Giammaria, M.Cressoni AF Corse Ferrari 8 Laps
16 GTC R.Mastronardi, F.Castellacci, S.Hall AF Corse Ferrari 9 Laps
17 LMP2 L.Roussel, D.Cheng, J.Schell Pegasus Racing Morgan/Nissan 9 Laps
18 GTC G.Roda, I.Melnikov, M.Cioci AF Corse Ferrari 10 Laps
19 GTC M.Rasmussen, F.Barreiros, F.Guedes AF Corse Ferrari 11 Laps
20 LMP3 R.Garofall, M.Dons University of Bolton Ginetta/Nissan 12 Laps
21 LMP3 K.Calko, J.Fuster, D.Matijosaitis SVK by Speed Factory Ginetta/Nissan 14 Laps
22 LMGTE M.Wainwright, A.Carroll, P.Keen Gulf Racing UK Porsche 14 Laps
23 LMP3 A.Craven, M.Shulzhitskiy Lanan Racing Ginetta/Nissan 17 Laps
24 GTC F.Perera, D.Lunardi, E.Dermont TDS Racing BMW 32 Laps
- LMP3 C.Hoy, C.Robertson Team LNT Ginetta/Nissan Retirement
- GTC S.Moller, C.Elgaard, K.Poulsen Massive Motorsport Aston Martin Retirement
- LMP2 M.Mediani, N.Minassian, D.Markozov SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan Retirement
- LMP3 R.Lacorte, G.Sernagiotto Cetilar Villorba Corse Ginetta/Nissan Retirement
- LMP3 M.Simpson, G.Paletou Team LNT Ginetta/Nissan Retirement
- LMP2 Y.Yamagishi, P.Perret Ibanez Racing ORECA/Nissan Retirement


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