Aston Martin Racing claimed a dramatic victory for its new LMP1 coupe in the opening round of the Le Mans Series at Barcelona today.
The lead AMR Lola-Aston, driven by Stefan Mucke, Jan Charouz and Tomas Enge, looked destined to finish second until the leading Pescarolo-Judd stalled at its final pitstop. This allowed a charging Mucke to drastically cut the gap to Pescarolo driver Christophe Tinseau.
The Frenchman's lead was down to 6.2 seconds when the safety car was deployed with 40 minutes to go. Mucke was only four seconds behind when the race went green and needed less than six laps to close down and then pass the Pescarolo.
Tinseau, who shared the revised Pescarolo-Judd 01 with Jean-Christophe Boullion, eventually finished 14 seconds down at the chequered flag.
The second AMR entry looked set to finish third until Miguel Ramos spun in the closing stages and was unable to restart. That allowed the number two AIM-powered Couarge-ORECA, in which Bruno Senna joined team regular Stephane Ortelli, to claim the final spot on the podium.
Fourth place went to sportscar debutant Signature Racing, whose Judd-engined Courage-ORECA had a largely trouble-free run in the hands of Pierre Ragues and Frank Mailleux. The pole-winning Strakka Racing Ginetta-Zytek, driven by Danny Watts, Peter Hardman and Nick Leventis, finished fifth.
LMP2 honours went to the Italian Racing Box team. Its lead Lola-Judd coupe enjoyed a faultless run in the hands of Thomas Biagi, Matteo Bobbi and Andrea Piccinni to claim a 46-second victory over the ASM Team Ginetta-Zytek driven by Olivier Pla and Miguel Amaral.
The Reiter-run IPB Spartak Lamborghini Murcielago took the GT1 silverware. The Italian car driven by Peter Kox and Romain Rusinov was the fastest car in class but only assumed the lead when team owner Luc Alphand spun his Chevrolet Corvette C6.R in the third hour.
Porsche reasserted itself in GT2. Factory drivers Richard Lietz and Marc Lieb took the class honours aboard their Felbermayr Proton Porsche 911 GT3-RSR ahead of Rob Bell and Gianmaria Bruni in the JMW Motorsport Ferrari.
Pos Cl Drivers Car Laps 1. LMP1 Charouz/Enge/Mucke Lola Aston Martin 209 2. LMP1 Boullion/Tinseau Pescarolo Judd 209 3. LMP1 Ortelli/Senna Oreca AIM 206 4. LMP1 Ragues/Mailleux Oreca Judd 206 5. LMP1 Watts/Leventis/Hardman Ginetta Zytek 205 6. LMP1 Jouanny/Barbosa Pescarolo Judd 203 7. LMP2 Biagi/Bobbi/Piccini Lola Judd 201 8. LMP2 Amaral/Pla Ginetta Zytek 201 9. LMP2 Ceccato/Francioni/Piccini Lola Judd 195 10. LMP2 Bruneau/Moseley/Greensall Radical AER 193 11. LMP2 Lahaye/Ajlani Pescarolo Mazda 190 12. LMP2 Nicolet/Hein Pescarolo Mazda 190 13. GT1 Rusinov/Kox Lamborghini 189 14. GT2 Lieb/Lietz Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 187 15. GT1 Alphand/Goueslard/Clairay Corvette C6.R 187 16. GT2 Bell/Bruni Ferrari F430 GT 186 17. GT2 Simonsen/Montanari Ferrari F430 GT 185 18. GT2 Ehret/Beltoise Ferrari F430 GT 185 19. GT2 Garcia/Mansell Ferrari F430 GT 185 20. LMP2 Kane/Pompidou Lola Judd 184 21. GT2 Hartshorne/Scheier/Iannetta Ferrari F430 GT 184 22. GT1 Berville/Dumez/Zacchia Saleen S7R 184 23. GT2 Ried/Felbermayr/Martins Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 182 24. LMP1 Primat/Ramos/Turner Lola Aston Martin 181 25. GT2 Cocker/Drayson Aston Martin Vantage 181 26. GT2 McInerney/McInerney/Vergers Ferrari F430 GT 181 27. LMP1 Belicchi/Fassler/Prost Lola Aston Martin 180 28. LMP1 Krumm/Meyrick/Zwolsman Audi R10 TDI 179 29. LMP2 Ojjeh/Gosselin/Peter Ginetta Zytek 179 30. GT2 Tenchini/Basso/Plati Ferrari F430 GT 175 31. LMP2 Salini/Salini/Gommendy WR Zytek 163 32. LMP1 Albers/Bakkerud Audi R10 TDI 153 33. GT1 Konopka/Edwards/Daniels Saleen S7R 139 34. LMP2 Noda/Sini/Marsh Lola Mazda 133 35. LMP2 Schell/Thirion Courage AER 118 36. LMP2 Ibanez/Rocha/Cavailhes Courage AER 116 37. GT2 Pilet/Narac Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 115 38. LMP1 Panis/Lapierre Oreca AIM 108 39. GT2 Rosa/Montermini/Petrobelli Ferrari F430 GT 106 40. LMP2 Moncada/Cortes/Armetta Lucchini Judd 98 41. LMP2 Erdos/Newton Lola Mazda 82 42. LMP2 Randaccio/Giammaria Lucchini McLaren 17 43. GT2 Coronel/Leuenberger Spyker C8 Laviolette 6