Pescarolo Sport claimed its first Le Mans Series victory in three years at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Jean-Christophe Boullion and Christophe Tinseau claimed a narrow victory over the best of Aston Martin Racing's LMP1 coupes after nearly six hours of racing through dusk on Saturday evening and into the small hours. The solo Pescarolo-Judd 01 crossed the line 85 seconds ahead of the Aston-engined Lola driven by Stefan Mucke, Jan Charouz and Tomas Enge.
The Pescarolo, which had qualified only seventh, came through to second behind the AMR car in little more than 24 laps with Boullion at the wheel. The Frenchman then battled with Mucke through the second hour, before the Aston driver locked up as he came upon a slower car and spun. The Aston subsequently remained in contact through the race, despite a gearbox problem in the latter stages, but the win belonged to Pescarolo.
"Seventh place in qualifying was not where we wanted to be, but the team did a great job in the warm-up and the car was fantastic to drive," said Boullion.
The second AIM-engined ORECA 01 driven by Bruno Senna and Tiago Monteiro ended up third after a conservative run. The French team's lead entry led the early laps in the hands of pole winner Nicolas Lapierre before an unscheduled stop to fix a fuel leak robbed him and team-mate Olivier Panis of any chance of victory. A high attrition rate allowed them to come back to fourth by the finish.
LMP2 honours went to the local ASM squad, whose Ginetta-Zytek dominated the secondary prototype division with Olivier Pla and Miguel Amaral driving. Pla finished his stint a minute up on his nearest opponent and then problems for their rivals allowed the Frenchman and his team-mate to ease to a two-lap victory.
The Luc Alphand Chevrolet team won the two-car GT1 class. Patrice Goueslard, Yann Clairay and Julien Jousse easily had the legs of the Larbre Saleen, which eventually finished 18 laps behind after suffering myriad problems.
The British JMW Ferrari drivers Rob Bell and Gianmaria Bruni came from behind to take GT2 honours ahead of the Imsa Performance Porsche raced by early leader Patrick Pilet and team boss Raymond Narac.
Pos Cl Drivers Car Time/Gap 1. P1 Boullion/Tinseau Pescarolo Judd 5h49m04.176s 2. P1 Charouz/Enge/Mucke Lola Aston Martin + 1m25.548s 3. P1 Monteiro/Senna ORECA AIM + 1 lap 4. P1 Panis/Lapierre ORECA AIM + 3 laps 5. P1 Primat/Ramos/Turner Lola Aston Martin + 4 laps 6. P2 Amaral/Pla Ginetta Zytek + 8 laps 7. P2 Ceccato/Francioni/Piccini Lola Judd + 10 laps 8. P2 Ojjeh/Gosselin/Peter Zytek + 10 laps 9. P2 Biagi/Bobbi/Piccini Lola Judd + 12 laps 10. P1 Ragues/Mailleux ORECA Judd + 13 laps 11. P2 Kane/Leuenberger/Pompidou Lola Judd + 17 laps 12. P2 Lahaye/Ajlani Pescarolo Mazda + 20 laps 13. P2 Erdos/Newton Lola Mazda + 20 laps 14. GT1 Clairay/Jousse/Goueslard Corvette C6.R + 21 laps 15. GT2 Bell/Bruni Ferrari F430 + 25 laps 16. GT2 Pilet/Narac Porsche 997 + 25 laps 17. GT2 Garcia/Mansell/Melo Ferrari F430 + 26 laps 18. GT2 Ehret/Farnbacher/Beltoise Ferrari F430 + 27 laps 19. GT2 Simonsen/Kaffer Ferrari F430 + 28 laps 20. GT2 Campanico/Von Thurn/Hartshorne Ferrari F430 + 33 laps 21. P2 Nicolet/Hein Pescarolo Mazda + 36 laps 22. GT2 Tenchini/Basso/Plati Ferrari F430 + 36 laps 23. GT1 Berville/Dumez/Lemeret Saleen S7R + 43 laps 24. P2 Salini/Salini/Jouanny WR Zytek + 44 laps 25. P2 Bruneau/Greaves/Sini Radical AER + 50 laps 26. GT2 Lieb/Lietz Porsche 997 + 62 laps Retirements: P1 Karthikeyan/Meyrick/Zwolsman Audi R10 TDI 149 laps P2 Cavailhes/da Rocha/Ibanez Courage AER 124 laps P1 Albers/Bakkerud/Mondini Audi R10 TDI 180 laps GT2 Coronel/Janis Spyker C8 163 laps P2 Jorda/Cortes/Nieto Lucchini Judd 90 laps P1 Watts/Leventis Ginetta Zytek 67 laps GT2 Cocker/Drayson Aston Martin 47 laps P1 Belicchi/Fassler/Prost Lola Aston Martin 30 laps GT2 Ried/Felbermayr/Martins Porsche 997 1 lap