Greaves Motorsport ends “fantastic season” with second place finish in Portugal.
Greaves Motorsport continued its run of success with a podium finish in the final round of the 2011 Le Mans Series, that took place today at the Estoril track, just outside of the Portuguese capital of Lisbon.
Tom Kimber-Smith, Karim Ojjeh and Olivier Lombard, once again competed strongly for a win, but were frustrated by a few minor problems that slowed their Zytek Z11SN - Nissan leaving them with ‘only’ second place.
The team started from pole position, the point earned for that achievement confirmed that Greaves Motorsport would be LMP 2 Team’s Champions and that Tom Kimber-Smith and Karim Ojjeh would be the Driver’s Champions. The main objective for the race in Estoril, aside from scoring a victory, was to help Olivier Lombard achieve second place in the Drivers’ table, despite missing two of the rounds. That was achieved to round off a great season for the Peterborough based team.
Olivier Lombard started the race. “It was my first start to a major race so there was a bit of pressure on me. This increased when I was passed for the lead on the second corner but I kept my cool and my concentration, so I was able to regain the position, when the leader was held up in traffic. I then pulled away without problem, but I found it a very hard race physically but being in the lead made up for that.” “My first season with Greaves Motorsport could not have gone any better, and for that I must thank the hard work of all the team. I hope it is the first chapter in a very long book…..”
Karim Ojjeh announced his retirement from top line prototype racing yesterday and had a mixed day with a few problems in his first stint. “Early on in traffic I had lost the front deflector, then a louver, so had to make an extended pit stop to replace these. With a new set of tyres the car was transformed and my times were really good. I really enjoyed my time in the car, which was fantastic, a great way to finish the season for me. The best part was that Tom and I were able to help Olivier to grab second place in the driver’s championship, he really deserved that.”
The final chapter for Greaves Motorsport’s season was written by Tom Kimber-Smith who brought the car home to another great result. “It was a really weird feeling, winning the titles on a Saturday and then racing on a Sunday. I took over the car in 4th, a lap down, and just pushed hard to see if we could improve our finishing place. Aside from a minor electrical glitch, the car was really fast and I was able to post the fastest lap of 1:32.611. Late in the race, I was catching the leader and could smell his brakes on fire, bits of burning car were falling off in front of me, then he slowed and I got by.” “Today we had the pace to win but just missed out. It has been a great season and I would just like to thank the team who have given us drivers such a reliable and fast car.”
Team Principal, Tim Greaves, gave the final verdict on the race.
“We had a few small problems that prevented us realising our full potential and we were naturally cautious looking to finish the season strongly. The team performed with their usual efficiency and it is down to them that we have achieved so much this year. We have been well supported by our partners and sponsors, in particular Nissan and Dunlop, who have made the victories possible. I really could not have asked for more from the 2011 season. Now the job is to build on this foundation for 2012.”