And the winners are... The race has been tough and exciting till the end, but there was no dramatic reversal of the standings in the final round this year, whatever the classes, as all the favorites clinched the title. Team ORECA-Matmut-AIM...
And the winners are...
The race has been tough and exciting till the end, but there was no dramatic reversal of the standings in the final round this year, whatever the classes, as all the favorites clinched the title.
Team ORECA-Matmut-AIM took the checkered flag in first place in the LMP1 class, whereas Speedy Racing Team Sebah won for the first time of the season in the LMP2 class. Gigawave Motorsport took the victory in the GT1 class and JMW Motorsport ruled the GT2 class.
Unlike the last two days, the weather has been mostly cloudy today and there has been a strong wind, which fortunately did not disturb the competitors. It has been an action-packed race from start to finish with many different leaders for the enjoyment of the spectators.
First for Team ORECA-Matmut-AIM and Speedy Racing Team Sebah
Team Oreca-Matmut AIM was back, after missing the German race and this comeback turned out to be very successful with the third podium of the year for the team, but the first victory for Nicolas Lapierre and Olivier Panis. The pair started from the pole and had an almost flawless race. As the car was stuck in traffic, the team from Signes decided to alter the strategy to get a clear track, which was obviously the right decision to make, as explained Olivier Panis: "It has been tough all day long and we decided to bring the pit-stop forward. We lost a lot of time in the garage to change the louver. Yesterday we claimed the pole and the victory is good for everyone in the team."
Aston Martin Racing started the season with a modest ambition: to do its best, but as time went by, the British squad revised its target upward, as the entry of three cars demonstrated it. First race and first win for the brand-new # 007 Lola-Aston Martin at Barcelona. From now on, good results followed on with a podium at each race. The only mechanical problem occurred at Spa during the qualifying session when the engine blew: Jan Charouz, Tomas Enge and Stefan Mucke had to start from the pits and lost two points. This is so an almost flawless season for the crew, which really deserved the title and couldn't dream of a better place than its home race to clinch it. The three drivers have not only been consistent, but also fast and winning, even if today they finished third.
The season will probably have a bitter taste for Pescarolo Sport because the new prototype improved so much compared with last year. Unfortunately, the French team had to retire in Germany whereas it was leading the Series. Started from the back of the grid today, Jean-Christophe Boullion did a tremendous job during his first stint and was able to catch up the leaders and to take the lead early in the race, but unfortunately, a gearbox problem put an end to a great race.
Finally! This is the first word that occurred to Speedy Racing Team Sebah after the race. The team has been dogged by bad luck for most of the year, so second place in the LMP1 class and first place in the LMP2 class are great rewards for the Swiss team. The six drivers have been consistent from the beginning of the season, but have been unable to capitalize on the strong performance that they showed during the practice sessions. Last but not least, the #33 car won the Michelin Green X Challenge, not only today, but the whole-season trophy as well.
Team LNT and Nigel Mansell finished the race, but in spite of good pace, they could not get a good result because of mechanical problems.
Second place is also a real relief for RML because the British team climbed on the podium today for the first time of the season. The team had to deal with many engine failures and got many penalties as a result. Tommy Erdos and Mike Newton were alive and kicking again which was great for the team's home race. OAK Racing and the gentlemen drivers' crew completed the podium thanks to a flawless race: this result confirmed that the team is improving at each race.
Quifel-ASM Team did not finish the race today because of a mechanical problem, but clinched the title in the LMP2 class yesterday when Olivier Pla claimed the pole. The second half of the season has been a dream for the Portuguese team, which absolutely ruled out the class. Miguel Amaral and Olivier Pla have brightened up the three last races: they were able to put together a good pace and consistency, thanks to the new Ginetta-Zytek and their Dunlop tires.
First race and first win for Gigawave Motorsport and a bitter victory for JMW Motorsport
The GT1 class welcomed a new competitor at Silverstone, and Gigawave Motorsport did very well as it took an amazing victory. But Team Luc Alphand Aventures, which ended the season with third place, clinched the title at Nurburgring. Larbre Competition achieved its goal and finished second in the class after taking second place in the race.
JMW Motorsport finished first, but could unfortunately not regain the final lead. The mechanical problems encountered at Nurburgring hampered the team in its quest of the title, and defending champion Rob Bell and Gimmi Bruni had not only to win, but also to expect no scoring from the leaders. And Team Felbermayr-Proton scored... one point! Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz have been among the strongest competitors for most of the season and had they not finished far behind in Portugal because of an early crash, they would have clinched the title earlier. But all's well that ends well for the German team.
Snoras Spyker climbed on the second step of the podium for the second time in a row! The Dutch car is now getting more and more reliable and is now a key player in the class, like IMSA Performance Matmut, which had a very tough season with many mechanical problems or contacts with other competitors that ruined several races. The French team had at heart to end up the season with a strong result to uphold its honor.