Dolan, Tincknell and Albuquerque place fourth in latest Paul Ricard race.
JOTA Sport consolidated its second place in the European Le Mans Series standings when Simon Dolan, Harry Tincknell and Filipe Albuquerque claimed fourth place in the Four Hours of Paul Ricard in France today (14 Sep).
The British team’s third top-four from four races sees JOTA now trailing the championship leaders by 10-points with just one race remaining next month.
The reigning Le Mans 24 Hour race LM P2 champions completed almost 450-miles at an average speed of 111.54mph finishing 80.558secs behind the winning car.
Tincknell had set the second fastest qualifying time earlier in the day on the 37-car grid – the first time this season the Dunlop-shod JOTA Sport Zytek had not been in pole-position.
Harry took the start around the fast, sweeping 3.6-mile Paul Ricard track at Le Castellet near Marseille in Southern France and snatched the lead with 20mins gone, pitting after 45mins with a 5secs advantage.
Dolan lay second, 22secs behind the Morgan of Pierre Ragues who had remained behind the wheel and, despite setting consistently fast lap times, slipped to third behind their main championship rivals.
Simon made a scheduled pit-stop on 90mins and by dint of not taking on new tyres, briefly resumed in the lead – the top four cars almost together. He was fifth just 26secs off the lead shortly after mid-distance while Albuquerque took over the Zytek with just over 90mins to run.
The Portuguese immediately set what would be the race’s second fastest lap placed sixth, moving up a place with a little over one hour remaining while Dolan, who only took on two new tyres when he took over with 45mins to run, resumed fifth but moved into fourth in the closing stages.
The fifth and final round of this year’s ELMS is staged at Estoril in Portugal on 19 October.
Simon Dolan (GB). Age 45. Born: Chelmsford, Essex. Lives: Monaco (MC): “It was a difficult race – I’m personally disappointed with my performance, especially in my opening two stints on double-stinting the hard tyres. Harry had built up a good lead then Filipe did a storming job. I did manage to grab fourth at the flag so in terms of the championship it’s not a disaster and we’ll come back fighting at Estoril.”
Harry Tincknell (GB). Age: 22. Born: Exeter, Devon. Lives: Sidmouth, Devon (GB): “It was a difficult weekend for us but I’m happy to come away with a fourth place and heading into Estoril with a legitimate shot of winning the title. I couldn't quite get ‘pole’ which meant I had to battle hard to take the lead in the opening few laps. From there I pushed as hard as I possibly could to open a gap but realistically fourth place was the best we could have hoped for today.”
Filipe Albuquerque (P). Age 29. Born & Lives: Coimbra (P): “It was a hard weekend for us. Harry did a good opening stint but Simon suffered a big drop-off in performance with his tyres during his second stint which cost us a lot of time unfortunately. Bottom line is our opposition were faster than us today. It makes winning the championship harder for us but it’s still possible and we’ll go to my ‘home’ race fighting.”
Sam Hignett. Partner, JOTA Group: “It was a good team performance with the crew getting the car turned around very fast at our pit-stops. We always knew this would be our toughest ELMS race of the season and to a certain extent a damage limitation exercise as the Ricard track is not well suited to our Zytek. However, looking ahead to Estoril we feel that we’ll be more competitive there and we’re still in good shape in terms of the championship. We plan a test at Monza before that race to work on the drivers limiting tyre degradation in Portugal.”
Paul Ricard 4 Hours, ELMS Rd 4
Free Practice 1: 1m 51.621s (P7, Albuquerque), +1.504s (lap 11 of 38)
Free Practice 2: 1m 49.477s (P2, Tincknell), +0.004s (lap 33 of 38)
Qualifying: 1m 48.126s, + +0.289s (P2, Tincknell) on lap 4 of 6
Race: 4th, +80.558s
Championship: Driver’s 2nd, 58pts (Dolan/Tincknell/Albuquerque). Teams’ 2nd, 58pts.