Jean-Christophe Boullion and Christophe Tinsau won a closely-fought third round of the Le Mans Series in Portimao, Portugal in their Pescarolo-Judd. ...
Jean-Christophe Boullion and Christophe Tinsau won a closely-fought third round of the Le Mans Series in Portimao, Portugal in their Pescarolo-Judd.
The No.16 Pescarolo was the only entrant by the French team owner Henri Pescarolo due to budget issues but that one car was all they needed for victory at the Autodromo International du Algarve circuit in Portimao. The car came across the line completing the 1000km race distance, some 215 laps in, just 1 minute and 25 seconds ahead of the No. 007 Lola Aston Martin of Jan Charouz, Tomas Enge and Stefan Mucke in a race where the two front-runners were never far apart and traded the lead as both pitted at different times.
The No.10 Team Oreca Matmut-AIM took the final podium spot with Tiago Monteiro and Bruno Senna driving just one lap adrift of the lead car.
The Quifel-ASM Ginetta Zytec with drivers Miguel Amaral and Olivier Pla had a great weekend taking the LMP2 win in an overall sixth place after completing 207 laps. The pair finished ahead of the Racing Box Lola B08/80 coupe - Judd of Andrea Ceccato, Filippo Francioni and Giacomo in an overall seventh place. The G.A.C Racing Team Zytek 07S - Zytek of Karim Ojjeh and Philipp Peter took the 3rd in class in an overall eighth position.
The Luc Alphand Adventures Corvette C6R with Yvan Clairay, Patrice Goueslard and Julien Jousse took the LMGT1 victory after completing 194 laps. This is great news for team owner Luc Alphand who is recuperating at home after breaking his back in and endurance motorcycle event some three weeks ago.
In LMPGT2 the win went to the JMW Motorsport Ferarri F430 GT driven by Robert Bell and Gianmaria Bruni ahead of the IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 997 GT3 RSR of Raymond Narac and Patrick Pilet as well as the Team Modena Ferrari F430 GT of Antiono Garcia, Leo Mansell and Jamie Melo.
The brand-new track with short sharp corners provided a real challenge for drivers with many of the corners being effectively blind due to the large gradient changes around the circuit. The night time driving was bound to be even trickier, with cars from different classes racing on the constantly undulating track, it was always going to be an exciting race and it didn't disappoint.
The action started before the race even started with Danny Watts managing to spin his Striker Racing Ginetta Zytek as he pulled away on the formation lap before the start although he did manage to recover to get back into position before the cars rolled across the start line. All the cars got away well although it was not long before both Team Felbermayer Proton Porsches were back in the pits with the No. 88 car destined to retire after just one lap with a rear damage mainly caused by a flailing rear tyre carcus.
The two Kolles Audi R10s were soon going backwards through the field as the Pescarolo moved up well. By lap 10 things got worse for Team owner Dr Colin Kolles as both his Audis collided with each other: Andy Meyrick had a gearbox issue, which locked up the rear wheels as he entered a corner, spinning the car and sending it careering into the side of the sister car with Christian Bakkerud at the wheel. Both cars suffered significant damage and the No 15 and No. 14 cars finished in 21st and 29th respectively.
With both the diesel cars having such a bad race the petrol race raged on initially between the pole-sitting No 11 Team Oreca Matmut AIM and the No. 007 Aston Martin but the Oreca soon had problems as the car developed a fuel leak spraying fuel onto driver Lapierre who was forced to pit.
The solitary Pascarolo was soon up at the front before the first hour, taking Watts in the Striker Racing Ginetta Zytek and then setting his sights on the lead Aston. The battle raged on all race with the pair swapping positions regularly, neither team were able to relax but it was the Pescarolo that had the better pace and gradually edged into race winning position. Despite a pit stop within the last 5 laps the Pescarolo took the win recapturing some of the glory the team enjoyed in the 2006 season.
With just two rounds remaining the LMS series will be back at the Nurburgring in Germany on the 21st/22nd/23rd of August, leaving the final round at the UK's Silverstone circuit on the 11th/12th/13th September.