Image credit: SportscarGlobal.
Jon Lancaster driving the Greaves Motorsport Gibson won an incident packed season opening Four Hours of Silverstone European Le Mans race from Harry Ticknell in the JOTA Sport Gibson with Tristan Gommendy in the in the Thiriet by TDS Racing Oreca taking third position.
All three of the podium drivers were involved in incidents in the final few laps of the race; with 12 minutes to go Tinknell took the kerb a little too hard causing the JOTA Sport car to spin, handing second back to Lancaster. Just 7 minutes later Lancaster had caught Gommendy and in a controversial move forced the Frenchman over to the left causing both cars to run off the track with Lancaster taking the lead as he returned to the track and Tinknell passing the spinning Gommendy to land second position on the track.
The race had two safety car periods and a yellow flag towards the end, the first coming on the first lap when the #34 AF Corse Nissan Oreca forced the #29 Pegasus Racing Morgan of Jonathan Coleman into the run off area in avoidance, causing the Morgan to spin out across the track to make contact with Ladygin’s Oreca.
As the race restarted Filipe Albuquerque’s JOTA Sport Gibson briefly got ahead of the leading Greaves Motorsport Gibson of Gary Hirsch under the yellow flag but the Portuguese driver realised his mistake and dropped back allowing Hirsch to retake his position.
The JOTA Sport car finally overtook Hirsch to take the lead of the race several laps later with the #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing Oreca of Pierre Thiriet also in the mix battle for the lead of the race.
In the new LMP3 class the two Team LNT Ginettas started at the back of the grid. Michael Simpson and Charlie Robertson battled their way through the traffic, with Olympic cycling champion Chris Hoy and Robertson’s #3 Nissan powered car taking the lead by lap 10, and held on for the eventual class win. The sister #2 car of Paletou took second and a spirited drive by the University of Bolton team saw them take the final spot on the podium.
In GTE/GTC classes Ferraris were dropping like flies with what seemed an extraordinary rate of attrition through incidents and accidents. Adam Carroll in the #86 Gulf Racing Porsche took the eventual win in the GTE class with second and third going to the #66 JMW Motorsport and #55 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italias respectively. Perhaps the result of the day in the GTE class however goes to the Mark VDS Team who put the BMW Z4 GTE into fourth place in its very first competitive outing.
The GTC honours went to BMW with Perera taking the flag in the #59 TDS Racing Z4 GTC. Second went to the #64 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia GT3 and the podium was rounded out by Brown in the #85 Gulf Lamborghini Gallardo GT3.
Full results of the race are as follows:
1. Hirsch/Wirdheim/Lancaster GBR Greaves Gibson-Nissan 117 lapsLMP2
2. Dolan/Tincknell/Albuquerque GBR Jota Sport Gibson-Nissan 117 laps, +0.370s LMP2
3. Thiriet/Badey/Gommendy FRA Thiriet by TDS Oreca 05-Nissan 117 laps, +20.632s LMP2
4. Krohn/Jonsson/Negri USA Krohn Ligier-Judd 117 laps LMP2
5. Jun Jin/de Brujin PHI Eurasia Oreca-Nissan 116 laps LMP2
6. Perret/Bellarosa/Ibanez SMR Ibanez Oreca-Nissan 114 laps LMP2
7. Mediani/Markozov/Minassian ITA AF Corse Oreca-Nissan 114 laps LMP2
8. Wainwright/Carroll/Keen GBR Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR 110 laps GTE
9. Richardson/Smith/Tordoff GBR JMW Ferrari F458 Italia 109 laps GTE
10. Cameron/Griffin/Scott ITA AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia 109 laps GTE
11. Priaulx/Hassid/Krohn BEL Marc VDS BMW Z4 109 laps GTE
12. Bachler/Al Qubaisi/Ried GER Proton Porsche 911 RSR 109 laps GTE
13. Laursen/Mac/Rizzoli DEN Formula Racing Ferrari F458 Italia 109 laps GTE
14. Perera/Lunardi/Dermont FRA TDS Racing BMW Z4 108 laps GTC
15. Talkanista/Talkanista/Pier Guidi AUT AT Racing Ferrari F458 Italia 107 laps GTE
16. Hoy/Robertson GBR LNT Ginetta-Nissan 107 laps LMP3
17. Simpson/Paletou GBR LNT Ginetta-Nissan 106 laps LMP3
18. Rasmussen/Barreiros/Guedes ITA AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia 106 laps GTC
19. Aleshin/Ladygin/Ladygin ITA AF Corse Oreca-Nissan 105 laps LMP2
20. Garofall/Petersen GBR University of Bolton Ginetta-Nissan 105 laps LMP3
21. Calko/Fuster/Matijosaitis ESP SVK Ginetta-Nissan 102 laps LMP3
22. Goethe/Brown/Hamilton GBR Gulf Lamborghini Gallardo 92 laps GTC
23. La Rosa/Yamagishi SMR Ibanez Oreca-Nissan 89 laps LMP2
24. Berthon/Lyons/Patterson IRL Murphy Oreca-Nissan 83 laps LMP2
25. Roda/Melnikov/Cioci ITA AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia 67 laps GTC
26. Moller/Elgaard/Poulsen DEN Massive Aston Martin Vantage 65 laps GTC
27. Roussel/Cheng/Coleman GER Pegasus Morgan-Nissan 64 laps LMP2
28. Craven/Foster/Hollings GBR Lanan Ginetta-Nissan 52 laps LMP3
29. Mann/Giammaria/Cressoni ITA AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia 35 laps GTE
30. Wyatt/Rugolo/Aguas ITA AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia 32 laps GTE
31. Flohr/Castellacci/Hall ITA AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia 0 laps GTC