Istanbul: Race report

Emmanuel Collard and Jean-Christophe Boullion won the fifth and final race of the 2005 Le Mans Endurance Series, driving their Pescarolo to victory by little more than a minute over the Audi Team France R8 of Allan McNish and Stephane ...

Emmanuel Collard and Jean-Christophe Boullion won the fifth and final race of the 2005 Le Mans Endurance Series, driving their Pescarolo to victory by little more than a minute over the Audi Team France R8 of Allan McNish and Stephane Ortelli.

Their victory earned the French pair the drivers' title, and three-time Le Mans winner Henri Pescarolo saw his hard work converting his chassis to the new hybrid regulations rewarded as the teams' title also went his way.

Boullion held off the Audi despite appalling wet weather conditions that suited the chasing Audi better than the more powerful Pescarolo. "The track conditions at the end of the race were doubtful, and I was expecting to see a red flag or a safety car," said Boullion. "It was very difficult to keep the car on the track, even in second gear."

The team changed tyres at every stop, a gamble that paid off for them. "Emmanuel told us it was a critical situation with the aquaplaning, and we decided to change the tyres at each pit stop," said Pescarolo. "That was a difficult choice because we would lose around 15 seconds each stop, and we did not know what we would gain on the track. It was a difficult choice, but a winning choice."

Hayanari Shimoda, the Japanese driver who survived a 160mph accident in Australia last week, led the point standings at the final round in Istanbul. However his co-driver Tom Chilton started the race, and the team elected to keep the tyres for a second stint. That cost them time, and then Casper Elgaard's first stint lasted less than a lap before he needed to pit again following a puncture.

The car finished fourth at the flag, enough for Shimoda to finish second in the championship, two points behind Collard and Boullion. McNish and Ortelli finished third, a further six points behind following their second-place finish on the road.

British driver Gareth Evans won the LMP2 drivers' title, and his Chamberlain Synergy the teams' accolade, having finished second on the road in Turkey. Former Le Mans winner Guy Smith started the race on intermediate tyres, and led the class. Co-driver Peter Owen spun off in the final hour though they recovered to take the flag. Evans' co-driver Bob Berridge, who jointly led the point standings before the race in Istanbul, was involved in the GP Masters event in Kayalami and was forced to miss the race.

BMS Scuderia Italia won the GT1 title in the Care Racing-prepared Ferrari 550 Maranello. Michele Bartyan, Christian Pescatori and Toni Seiler won the title ahead of their BMS team-mate Matteo Cressoni by virtue of having won twice compared to Cressoni's single victory at the opening round at Spa.

Christophe Bouchut and Alexey Vasiliev took third in the championship in the Convers Team Ferrari 550 Maranello. As BMS Scuderia Italia may take only one automatic entry to Le Mans, the Russian-entered team will earn the second.

Nathan Kinch and Andrew Kirkaldy won the GT2 event for the Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari 360 Modena team, but the title had already been decided in favour of Xavier Pompidou and Marc Lieb in the Sebah Porsche. The race was decided on the final lap as Luca Drudi challenged for the win and spun. The Italian recovered to finish second.

-lmes-

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Series ELMS