" Like the good old days ". Reunited for the first time since winning the 2012 championship, Pierre Thiriet and Mathias Beche picked up where they left off in the European Le Mans Series: driving the ORECA 03 entered by Thiriet by TDS Racing, the two men took the 3 Hours of Imola victory ! They finished ahead of the Alpine driven by Ragues/Panciatici, built and developed by ORECA.
Pierre Thiriet (Thiriet by TDS Racing, ORECA 03-Nissan #1), LM P2 1st : "It’s great to win again with Mathias. To be honest, we didn’t expect to be in the lead so quickly. Mathias was very good, as usual. As for me, I’m satisfied with my stint and being able to retake the lead. Afterward, I focused on avoiding mistakes, which wasn’t easy to do in traffic. The car was well balanced, maybe slightly more physically demanding than usual. I’m thrilled to have taken the win on Mathias’ return. With a double program for us, it was complicated but we were able to do it."
Mathias Beche (Thiriet by TDS Racing, ORECA 03-Nissan #1), LM P2 1st: "Brendon Hartley was very intelligent at the start and I preferred not to take any risks. I was quick during my stint, but I was unable to pass. The team performed well in the pits, and we were able to take the lead of the race. Then we started to widen the gap: here the traffic is difficult to deal with and you have to be aggressive, and that’s what we did. To take the win for my return to the team is really very special. I’m very proud of Pierre, who was excellent today and who took it to another level. "
Starting second and third on the grid, the ORECA 03 cars of Thiriet by TDS Racing and Murphy Prototypes swap positions at the start. Brendon Hartley and Mathias Beche chase the leader as the trio is within two seconds of each other after the first half hour. With a solid effort, Race Performance makes it nearly to the top five. As pitstops begin, Thiriet by TDS Racing takes advantage of a better stop than the competition to take control of the race. Behind the wheel of the No. 1 ORECA 03, Mathias Beche attacks to widen the gap, which reaches 10 seconds at the half way point.
Pierre Thiriet then takes over for Mathas: although he rejoins the action in second place, the Frenchman attacks and retakes the first position, thanks to a good move in the 60th lap. Despite a few drops of rain, TDS Racing doesn’t falter and keeps a constant distance to its rivals. The last pitstop occurs without a hitch, the French team enjoying a big advantage both because of strategies or mistakes made by their direct competition.
After three hours of racing, Pierre Thiriet and Mathias Beche take the win in the No. 1 ORECA 03, ahead of the No. 36 Alpine, built and developed by ORECA. After a consistent and flawless performance, Michel Frey and Patric Niederhauser just off the podium with the No. 34 ORECA 03 entered by Race Performance. Competitive once again, and despite a nice comeback from Brendon Hartley during the last stint, Murphy Prototypes finishes sixth overall, with Boutsen Ginion Racing crossing the line in seventh in the LMP2 class after race without issues.