Imola ELMS: Thiriet by TDS Racing takes win in rain-hit race
Thiriet by TDS Racing emerged victorious in the 4 Hours of Imola on Sunday, beating Silverstone-winners G-Drive in a race hit by torrential rain.
At the start of the race, Nicolas Lapierre led from pole position in the #21 DragonSpeed car, with Panis Barthez Competiton’s Paul Loup Chatin passing Pierre Thiriet to jump to second place.
Lapierre continued to lead at the front, extending his advantage to eight seconds before handing the car to Henrik Hedman at the first round of pitstops.
Panis Barthez Competition and Thiriet by TDS, in contrast, decided to double-stint their drivers, passing the DragonSpeed car in quick succession to take the top two spots.
The status quo remained at the front until the second round of pitstops when Ryo Hirakawa passed Fabien Barthez for the lead of the race, having taken over the driving seat of the #46 Oreca-Nissan.
Thereon, the Thiriet by TDS squad was unthreatened despite a scare at Acque Minerali when it spun, taking home a comfortable win.
However, the order behind was far from settled as G-Drive and DragonSpeed began a period of resurgence to finish second and third, with Ben Hanley made some particularly impressive moves during the second part of the race.
The team could have finished as runner-up, had it initially fitted its car with a set of full wets when rain hit the track with just over an hour to go.
The drizzle turned into a full downpour, forcing the race director to deploy a Full Course Yellow, followed by a safety car period.
With conditions showing little signs of improving, the race finished under the safety car with SMP Racing taking fourth place, ahead of the #33 Eurasia Motorsport entry.
Krohn Racing had to settle for sixth position, having ran much higher during the early part of the race.
The #23 Panis Barthez Competition entry finished a disappointing seventh, after going off in wet conditions on a set of intermediate tyres.
Race Performance and Murphy Prototypes were classified ninth and 10th.
United Autosports takes second consecutive LMP3 win
In the LMP3 class, United Autosports lodged its second successive win of the season, with the #2 car of Alex Brundle, Mike Guasch and Christian England taking the top spot.
Eurointernatinational’s #11 entry of Marco Jacoboni, Giorgio Mondini and Andrea Roda took second while the Panis Barthez Competition machine of Eric Debard, Simon Gachet and Valentin Moineault completed the rostrum.
The polesitting car of #3 United Autosports lost its lead on Lap 6 when Matt Bell ran wide at Tamburello, allowing its sister car to inherit the top spot.
Proton Racing dominates GTE class
In the GTE Class, the Porsche 911 of Proton Racing was on a class of its own, beating all of LMP3 cars to finish 13th overall in the timesheets.
Driving the #77 car, Mike Hedlund, Wolf Henzler and Robert Renauer were impressive throughout the 116 laps they ran, with sister #88 car finishing fourth in class.
JMW Motorsport’s Ferrari 458 Italia of Andrea Bertolini, Rory Butcher and Robert Smith finished a lap down in second place, with the #56 AT Racing of Alexander Talkanista (Senior & Junior) and Davide Rigon classified in third position.
Race results - Top 10:
|1||46|| Pierre Thiriet |
|2||38|| Simon Dolan |
Giedo van der Garde
|3||21|| Henrik Hedman |
|4||32|| Stefano Coletti |
|5||33|| Pu Jun Jin |
Nick de Bruijn
|6||40|| Björn Wirdheim |
|7||23|| Fabien Barthez |
|8||41|| Memo Rojas |
|9||34|| Niki Leutwiler |
|10||48|| Sean Doyle |
Imola ELMS: Lapierre beats Beche by 0.035s to take pole
United Autosports scores second consecutive ELMS victory