Albuquerque, Dolan and Tincknell target Imola rostrum finish.
JOTA Sport heads for the second round of the European Le Mans Series in Italy next weekend (17-18 May) fully aware that a high points-scoring position is vital in terms of the British team’s championship title aspirations.
Having topped one of the two Free Practice sessions, claimed pole-position by an incredible margin of +1.152secs and led 69 of the opening 97-laps in the first round at Silverstone (19 Apr), the JOTA Zytek crashed out of the lead with less than an hour of the race remaining.
Simon Dolan (GB) being edged out on to the grass and subsequent massive front-end impact and instant retirement saw the team’s near dominant performance on “home” soil resulting in a desperately unlucky no score.
Therefore Dolan plus team-mates Filipe Albuquerque (P) and Harry Tincknell (GB) are focussed on a top finish in the 4 Hour race around the 22-corner, 3.05-mile Imola track near Bologna especially as there are no “dropped” scores in ELMS so a top score is vital.
Coincidentally in the corresponding race last year, JOTA Sport started from pole-position and was leading with 42mins to go before battery failure caused its retirement.
The British team starts the Imola race on Sunday (18 May) on the back of a confidence inspiring second placing in the LMP2 class in the Spa 6 Hours (3 May) – JOTA’s first of two FIA World Endurance Championship races this year.
Filipe Albuquerque (P). Age 28. Born & Lives: Coimbra (P): “Our target is very simple in Imola. We go there to win and if not, to at least finish on the podium. After Silverstone we cannot afford more non-finishes but at the same time we are in maximum attack mode.
“Imola is a legendary track, it's easy to like. Acque Mirenali is a particularly nice corner because of the down and then up hill section. It's also a good track for overtaking opportunities.
“The last time I raced there was in 2010 with the Audi R8 LMS. I finished second with my team mate Marco Bonanomi. It's going to be interesting to go there this time but with a LMP2 car.”
Simon Dolan (GB). Age 44. Born: Chelmsford, Essex. Lives: Monaco (MC): “Our championship title aspirations took a knock with our Silverstone retirement so we have to be satisfied with nothing less than wins in the remaining four races.
“I’ve raced at Imola twice before, once in GT Pro with an Aston Martin in 2011 and in the Zytek LMP2 last year. Contact at both races meant we didn’t get the results we wanted in either race but I do love the track.
“It is a proper old fashioned track, with lots of elevation changes, minimal run off and some fantastic fast corners. Certainly one of my favourites and I can’t wait to get out on the Imola track again.”
Harry Tincknell (GB). Age: 22 (29.10.91). Born: Exeter, Devon. Lives: Sidmouth, Devon (GB): “The top-step of the podium is my aim at Imola and maintaining this season’s 100% ELMS pole-position record. Spa was a great comeback for the entire team after the guys had put in many late nights to be ready in time for the race and so it was great to reward them with a podium finish in P2.
“I've never been to Imola before but I've watched the race back from last year and JOTA looked very competitive. I'll be working hard in the simulator and soaking up as much information from Simon and Filipe about the track so that I can go there as prepared as possible.
“It's a high down force circuit so should suit our Zytek very well. We’ll head to Italy with our confidence renewed and with a determined attitude to climb the championship table.”
Sam Hignett. Partner, JOTA Group: “Our aim has to be to at least get on the podium at every ELMS race from now on. In the seven days the Zytek was back at base before it left on Monday for Imola, the engineers set the car down on the surface plate and stripped it, cleaned and inspected all of the components, and then rebuilt the car with our ‘ELMS engine.
“Imola suits the Zytek. It’s a high down force track with a relatively low top speed which is good for us in our non Le Mans set-up configuration.”