Pescarolo, ASM, Larbre, Autorlando seal 2006 championships

Pescarolo Sport was simply perfect in 2006 Le Mans series, with the team of Emmanuel Collard and Jean-Christophe Boullion taking the overall and LM P1 class victories in every one of the five races to claim the P1 championship, and an automatic ...

Pescarolo Sport was simply perfect in 2006 Le Mans series, with the team of Emmanuel Collard and Jean-Christophe Boullion taking the overall and LM P1 class victories in every one of the five races to claim the P1 championship, and an automatic invitation to the 2007 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The #17 Pescarolo trio -- including Didier Andre for the second race in a row -- easily outdistanced the competition at the season finale in Jarama, completing 237 laps in their Pescarolo C60 Judd to the 233 of the second-overall ASM Racing Portugal team, running in LM P2, and beating the nearest LM P1 challenger, the Swiss Spirit Courage LC70 Judd by five laps.

Collard and Bouillon had already clinched the drivers' championship three races into the five-race season, as their nearest challenger, Nicolas Minassian, had missed the Istanbul event.

Pescarolo Sport and Creation Autosportif took the two top spots in the teams' championship for LM P2, with 50 and 20 points, respectively, earning invitations to Le Mans. Chamberlain Motorsport barely missed out with an identical 20-point total, but trumped by Autosportif's second place at the Nurburgring. Swiss Sprit was fourth with 19 points.

ASM capped a strong LM P2 season in their Racing for Portugal Lola B05/40 AER, with a brilliant drive by Angel Burgeno, Miguel de Castro and Miguel Amaral, to take second overall in front of the Swiss Courage P1 entry -- and the third win in the three races they finished this year.

de Castro and Burgeno had entered the season finale with a three-point deficit to Epsilon Barazi's Michael Vergers and Juan Barazi, and with the LMS 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 points scheme were not entirely the masters of their own destiny. With a win, they needed to have Vergers and Barazi finish no better than third, and they obliged ASM, finishing in fourth and tied for second in the championship.

In the teams' championship, critical for the Le Mans invitations, the two entries went to Epsilon Barazi and RML, the British team clinching the Le Mans entry on the strength of their Donington when, even though they failed to finish at Jarama. ASM missed out on the invitation as they were not entered in the teams' championship in time for the season opener in Istanbul, missing out the ten points for the vergers/Barazi win there.

In LM GT1, the battle went down to the wire, with seven drivers separated by a single point before the green flag flew at Jarama. Team Oreca, with Stephane Ortelli and Saheil Ayari, took the race win in their Saleen S7R, but the two drivers had already been mathematically eliminated prior to this weekend due to two mechanical failures earlier in the season. As a result, their one-lap class victory was only for glory, not the championship.

Instead, it was the second place in GT1 that mattered, with the two extra points over third place promising the championship to the right team. Larbre Competition and Team Modena fought hard in their Aston Martin DBR9s, with the Larbre trio of Pedro Lamy, Gabriele Gardel and Vincent Vosse holding the edge as the chequered flag flew -- and clinching the championship by a single lap and a single point.

Larbre receives the coveted invitation to Le Mans, but Team Modena will have to go through the prequalification process, as the technicality of the LMS entry transfering from Cirtek to Team Modena lost them the points from the first two races. Instead, the Convers Menx team will be guaranteed to start next year's 24-hour classic in their Ferrari 550 Maranello.

In LM GT2, as in LM P1, there was no contest for the championship, as Autorlando Sport had already clinched the teams' title and Joel Camathias the drivers, each with an 18-point edge prior to this weekend.

Camathias and teammate Marc Lieb didn't finish today's race in the championship-winning #76 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, although the team's #78 sister car did, crossing the line in second position in the class.

The race win, their second straight, went to Team LNT's Robert Bell and Hughes Warren in their #81 Panoz Esperante GTLM. However, the second place in the championship, and the second automatic Le Mans entry, to accompany Autorlando, was the property of the the team's second car, the #82, driven by Lawrence Tomlinson, Richard Dean and Marc Hynes, which finished the season finale in fourth place, behind the #86 Spyker Squadron's season-best finish of third.

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Series ELMS