Hirsch and Chatain confirm their potential at Imola

Next rendezvous for Team Endurance Challenge will be July 19 and 20 at the Red Bull Ring, site of the third round of the European Le Mans Series.

After Soheil Ayari and Anthony Pons, winners under a deluge at Silverstone, it’s the young duo of Gary Hirsch and Paul-Loup Chatain who took the honors at the 3 Hours of Imola.

#49 Team Endurance Challenge ORECA09-FLM: Gary Hirsch, Paul Loup Chatin
#49 Team Endurance Challenge ORECA09-FLM: Gary Hirsch, Paul Loup Chatin

Photo by: DPPI

Starting in the pole position with their ORECA-FLM 09, the two men led the second round of the European Le Mans Series from start to finish to take victory for Team Endurance Challenge in the LM PC class. In addition, they came home in seventh place overall. Anthony Pons and Soheil Ayari take second spot on the podium, followed by Alex Loan and Matthieu Lecuyer.

Gary Hirsch (Team Endurance Challenge, ORECA-FLM 09 #49), 1st LM PC : "I’m very happy with my pole position and the way we managed the race. The team did a good job and the car was perfect. We had two races within the race : one for the LM PC class victory, and the other to finish well in the overall standings. We did just that in finishing 7th overall, ahead of some LM P2 entries."

Paul-Loup Chatain (Team Endurance Challenge, ORECA-FLM 09 #49), 1st LM PC : "After Gary’s double stint, I had a really good lead. I focused on maintaining the gap. I tried to avoid the rumble strips, which are prominent here at Imola, in order to take car of the mechanical side : that’s part of learning endurance racing. With Gary and the team, we did a good job. Imola is one of the nicest European tracks, an old school circuit. I think all the drivers appreciate this time of track."

Race action.

After signing the fastest time in qualifying behind the wheel of the No. 49 ORECAFLM 09, Gary Hirsch keeps command of the LM PC class. He widens the gap to his pursuiters, Matthieu Lecuyer who, driving the No. 47, runs ahead of the No. 48 of Anthony Pons, despite a spin. The running order stablises at the halfway point, with a solid lead for Gary Hirsch as he hands the controls to teammate Paul-Loup Chatain, who continues the work.

After Matthieu Lecuyer’s stint, Alex Loan rejoins the race in second place but he’s faced with holding off Soheil Ayari, now driving the No. 48. The Frenchman manages to take the position from the young Andorran driver, who adopted a quick pace. Despite a race marked by several race incidents, the three Team Endurance Challenge ORECA-FLM 09 cars continue their flawless race until the drop of the checkered flag.

Young, promising drivers Gary Hirsch and Paul-Loup Chatain take the win with a one-lap advance on the No. 48 of Soheil Ayari and Anthony Pons, and the No. 47 of Matthieu Lecuyer and Alex Loan.

Next rendezvous for Team Endurance Challenge will be July 19 and 20 at the Red Bull Ring, site of the third round of the European Le Mans Series.

ORECA

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About this article
Series ELMS
Article type Race report
Tags chatain, elms, hirsch, imola, oreca