Estoril ELMS: Greaves' Wirdheim, Lancaster and Hirsch win title

Greaves Motorsport trio Bjorn Wirdheim, Gary Hirsch and Jon Lancaster claimed the overall European Le Mans Series title with second place in the four-hour season finale at Estoril

Estoril ELMS: Greaves' Wirdheim, Lancaster and Hirsch win title

The crew went into the race two points behind fellow Gibson-Nissan 015S outfit Jota Sport thanks to Filipe Albuquerque bagging a bonus point for pole position, with TDS Racing duo Ludovic Badey and Pierre Thiriet also in contention.

In the early stages, the Greaves team faced an uphill struggle as Albuquerque led comfortably from Badey, while Wirdheim had to battle his way up the order from 10th after Jon Lancaster's lap for second on the grid was deleted because of a yellow-flag infringement.

But Jota lost its grip on the championship shortly when a sudden rain shower hit Estoril after an hour and 18 minutes.

Dolan, who had taken over the Jota car and retaken the lead from the AF Racing-run BR Engineering BR01 of Victor Shaitar with a wheelbanging move, lost the rear of the Gibson and spun into the gravel.

Although the car was towed out by a recovery vehicle and Dolan was able to get going again only a lap down, this handed the championship initiative to Greaves, now with Hirsch at the wheel.

The Greaves crew weathered losing the lead and then a late stop/go penalty issued for Hirsch having released his seat belts too early when pitting to hand over to Lancaster to get the result needed to seal the crown.

TDS debutant Nicolas Lapierre drove a superb double stint as the rain came and went to close out victory in the race, finishing a lap ahead of Lancaster.

It was a fine performance from the team, with only Badey throwing away second place early in the race with a trip through the Turn 3 gravel holding it back.

The rapid BRE-Nissan BR01 of Mikhail Aleshin that enjoyed spells in the lead in the hands of the impressive Shaitar, finished third, while Tincknell brought the Jota car home fourth.

This gave Wirdheim, Hirsch and Lancaster the title by two points from Badey and Thiriet, with the Jota crew a further two points down in third.

THE CLASSES

The Marc VDS team won the GTE class on its final start in car racing, with Andy Priaulx's impressive stint in tricky conditions key to victory.

The JMW Motorsport Ferrari squad looked to be on course to win after Rory Butcher took command during a strong opening stint, only for it to lose gearbox pressure with one hour and 45 minutes remaining shortly after James Calado had taken the wheel.

But victory was not enough for Priaulx, Jesse Krohn and Henry Hassid to take the class title, as the AF Corse Formula Racing entry of Johnny Laursen, Mikkel Max and Andrea Rizzoli drove a conservative race to fifth.

In GTC, the TDS Racing team closed out the championship with second place for Franck Perera, Dino Lunardi and Eric Dermont.

The AF Corse Ferrari of Marco Cioci, Giorgio Roda and Ilya Melnikov took class victory.

Michael Simpson and 2014 Nissan GT Academy winner Gaetan Paletou won in LMP3, although Team LNT team-mates Charlie Robertson and Chris Hoy had already taken the championship.

RESULTS - 137 LAPS:

Pos Class Driver Team Car Gap
1 LMP2 P.Thiriet, L.Badey, N.Lapierre Thiriet by TDS Racing ORECA/Nissan 4h00m01.077s
2 LMP2 G.Hirsch, B.Wirdheim, J.Lancaster Greaves Motorsport Gibson/Nissan 1m15.677s
3 LMP2 M.Aleshin, K.Ladygin, V.Shaytar AF Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 1m36.090s
4 LMP2 S.Dolan, F.Albuquerque, H.Tincknell JOTA Sport Gibson/Nissan 1 Lap
5 LMP2 M.Mediani, D.Markozov, N.Minassian AF Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 1 Lap
6 LMP2 P.Jun Jin, N.de Bruijn Eurasia Motorsport ORECA/Nissan 2 Laps
7 LMP2 M.Munemann, J.Winslow, A.Roda Algarve Pro Racing Ligier/Nissan 6 Laps
8 LMP2 T.Krohn, N.Jonsson, O.Pla Krohn Racing Ligier/Judd 6 Laps
9 LMGTE A.Priaulx, H.Hassid, J.Krohn BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS BMW 8 Laps
10 LMGTE A.Howard, J.Adam, A.MacDowall Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 9 Laps
11 LMGTE M.Wainwright, A.Carroll, P.Keen Gulf Racing UK Porsche 9 Laps
12 LMGTE D.Cameron, M.Griffin, A.Scott AF Corse Ferrari 9 Laps
13 LMGTE J.Laursen, M.Mac, A.Rizzoli Formula Racing Ferrari 10 Laps
14 LMP3 M.Simpson, G.Paletou Team LNT Ginetta/Nissan 10 Laps
15 LMGTE A.Talkanitsa, A.Talkanitsa Jr., A.P.Guidi AT Racing Ferrari 10 Laps
16 LMP3 E.Trouillet, G.Findlay, T.Accary Graff Racing Ligier/Nissan 11 Laps
17 LMP3 C.Hoy, C.Robertson Team LNT Ginetta/Nissan 12 Laps
18 GTC G.Roda, I.Melnikov, M.Cioci AF Corse Ferrari 12 Laps
19 GTC F.Perera, D.Lunardi, E.Dermont TDS Racing BMW 12 Laps
20 GTC M.Rasmussen, F.Barreiros, F.Guedes AF Corse Ferrari 12 Laps
21 GTC T.Flohr, F.Castellacci, S.Hall AF Corse Ferrari 13 Laps
22 GTC S.Yoluc, E.Hankey, R.Stanaway TF Sport Aston Martin 14 Laps
23 LMP3 K.Calko, J.Fuster, D.Matijosaitis SVK by Speed Factory Ginetta/Nissan 14 Laps
24 LMGTE P.Mann, R.Giammaria, M.Cressoni AF Corse Ferrari 15 Laps
25 LMGTE R.Lietz, S.Asch, C.Ried Proton Competition Porsche 37 Laps
- LMP2 N.Berthon, M.Lyons, M.Patterson Murphy Prototypes ORECA/Nissan Retirement
- GTC C.Elgaard, K.Poulsen, S.Moller Massive Motorsport Aston Martin Retirement
- LMGTE R.Smith, R.Butcher, J.Calado JMW Motorsport Ferrari Retirement
- LMP3 R.Lacorte, G.Sernagiotto Cetilar Villorba Corse Ginetta/Nissan Retirement
- LMP2 L.Roussel, D.Cheng, J.Coleman Pegasus Racing Morgan/Nissan Retirement


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