ORECA dominates in Portugal

The ORECA Peugeot 908 HDi dominated round three of the Le Mans Series at the Algarve circuit

ORECA dominates in Portugal

The French turbodiesel, driven by Olivier Panis, Nicolas Lapierre and Stephane Sarrazin, led every one of the 215 laps around the 2.89-mile Portuguese track to record ORECA's first LMS victory of the season. Its nearest rival, the petrol-powered Rebellion Racing Lola-Judd driven by Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost, was five laps down at the finish of the day-night race.

Panis said: "We're happy to win this race. People say it was easy but winning a race is never easy."

The Rebellion Lola came through from the back of the grid after Jani's qualifying time was disallowed for a technical infringement. Jani brought the car into second position early in hour two and eventually finished a lap clear of the third-place Signuture Lola-Aston of Pierre Ragues, Vanina Ickx and Franck Mailleux.

The only other LMP1 in the field, the second Rebellion entry driven by Andrea Belicchi and Jean-Christophe Boullion, finished down in 20th after a long stop to repair a fractured fuel union.

Fourth place and LMP2 victory in a race of attrition went to the RML Lola-HPD driven by Tommy Erdos, Mike Newton and Ben Collins. The car ran second in the hands of Erdos in the second hour, but ultimately benefited from the retirement of the three fastest cars in class.

The pole-winning Strakka HPD ARX-01c retired from the lead with suspected driveshaft failure. The ASM Ginetta-Zytek went out with chassis damage after Miguel Amaral spun across the kerbs at Turn 1 and the best of the OAK Racing Pescarolo-Judds driven by Guillaume Moreau and Richard Hein retired with differential failure.

The Larbre Competition Saleen and AF Corse Ferrari teams dominated the GT1 and GT2 classes respectively, each leading every lap of the way. Warren Hughes and Jody Firth claimed Formula Le Mans honours with sixth place overall in their DAMS-run entry.

Pos Drivers Cl Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Panis/Lapierre/Sarrazin P1 ORECA Peugeot 5h48m30.820s 2. Prost/Jani P1 Rebellion Lola + 5 laps 3. Ragues/Mailleux/Ickx P1 Signature Aston + 6 laps 4. Erdos/Newton/Collins P2 RML Lola + 14 laps 5. Ojjeh/Greaves/Ebbesvik P2 Bruich. Ginetta + 22 laps 6. Firth/Hughes LC Formula Le Mans + 22 laps 7. Bruni/Melo GT2 AF Corse Ferrari + 23 laps 8. Barlesi/Cicognani/Chalandon LC Formula Le Mans + 24 laps 9. Fisichella/Vilander/Alesi GT2 AF Corse Ferrari + 24 laps 10. Lieb/Lietz GT2 Felbermayr Porsche + 24 laps 11. Bell/Turner GT2 JMW Aston Martin + 25 laps 12. Ragginger/Ried/Henzler GT2 Felbermayr Porsche + 25 laps 13. Companc/Russo GT2 AF Corse Ferrari + 25 laps 14. Farnbacher/Simonsen GT2 Farnbacher Ferrari + 26 laps 15. Kirkaldy/Mullen GT2 CRS Ferrari + 26 laps 16. Dumbreck/Bleekemolen GT2 Spyker + 27 laps 17. Narac/Pilet GT2 IMSA Porsche + 27 laps 18. Ehret/Quaife/Kaffer GT2 CRS Ferrari + 28 laps 19. Kraihamer/de Crem/Delhez LC Formula Le Mans + 28 laps 20. Belicchi/Boullion P1 Rebellion Lola + 29 laps 21. Gardel/Goueslard/Rees GT1 Larbre Saleen + 31 laps 22. Schell/Metz/da Rocha P2 Pegasus Courage + 36 laps 23. Kutemann/Basso/Hartshorne LC Formula Le Mans + 40 laps 24. Schroyen/van Dam/Walchhofer GT1 Larbre Saleen + 44 laps 25. Lahaye/Nicolet P2 Oak Pescarolo + 62 laps Retirements: Leventis/Watts/Kane P2 Strakka HPD 120 laps Hein/Moreau P2 Oak Pescarolo 91 laps Amaral/Pla P2 Quifel Ginetta 91 laps Holzer/Westbrook GT2 Prospeed Porsche 38 laps Toulemonde/Beche LC Formula Le Mans 26 laps Zacchia/Moro/Lombard LC Formula Le Mans 3 laps Pillon/Capillaire/Verdonck LC Formula Le Mans 1 lap 
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