4 Hours of Imola Qualifying: JOTA Sport on Pole

Filipe Albuquerque dominated qualifying for the European Le Mans Series 4 Hours of Imola, handing JOTA Sport its first pole position of the year.

The Portuguese driver’s fastest lap of 1:34.496s was over a second and a half quicker than Nathanael Berthon in the Murphy Prototypes ORECA.

Greaves Motorsport will start third after Jon Lancaster improved to a 1:36.204s on the final lap of the 20 minute session.

A quick early lap from Leo Roussel ensured a fourth place start for Pegasus Racing, while Eurasia Motorsport round out the top five.

Ivan Bellarosa recovered from a spin to record a 1:36.815s fastest lap aboard the Ibanez Racing ORECA 03R, with the pair of SMP Racing BR01s less than a second in arrears.

Despite having a clear advantage in the two free practice sessions the Thiriet by TDS Racing ORECA 05 was unable to break into the top eight. Tristan Gommendy’s 1:37.987s effort was slower than expected, although the known pace of the ORECA should still make it a threat this afternoon.

Team LNT once again took the LMP3 spoils, thanks to a 1:42.498s lap from Charlie Robertson in the #3 car. Recently signed Nissan LMP1 driver Mark Shulzhitskiy was able to prevent the Ginetta ‘works’ pair from claiming another one-two, with the Russian recording a 1:42.996s in the Lanan Racing entry. He was closely followed by Rob Garofall in the University of Bolton car, while Giorgio Sernagiotto will start from fourth after a promising qualifying session for LMP3 newcomers Cetilar Villorba Corse.

SVK by Speed Factory qualified fifth, while Mike Simpson could only managed sixth best in the second of the two Team LNT machines.

LMP3 pole-man Robertson will have a three-car LMGTE cushion at the start of the race, which takes place this afternoon.


Car #56 / AT RACING (AUT) / Ferrari F458 Italia / Alexander Talkanitsa (BLR) / Alexander Talkanitsa Jr (BLR) / Alessandro Pierguidi (ITA) - ELMS 4 Hours of Imola at Autodromo International Enzo e Dino Ferrari Imola - Imola - Italy
AT Racing led the way in LMGTE (Credit: ELMS)

Ferrari sealed a brace of pole positions in the GT classes, with Alessandro Pier Guidi’s 1:41.747s lap aboard the AT Racing 458 Italia holding out as the quickest of the LMGTE times. Four tenths behind was the #51 AF Corse Ferrari driven by Raffaele Gianmaria, while Richard Lietz was unable to split the top two in the Proton Competition Porsche.

Andy Priaulx will start fourth for BMW Team MarcVDS after submitting a 1:42.303s at the end of the session.

Three Ferraris assume the next three positions, with Formula Racing, #55 AF Corse and JMW Motorsport all coming within a second of Pier Guidi’s benchmark. Gulf Racing UK complete the LMGTE grid, after Adam Carroll recorded a 1:42.572s best.

AF Corse completed a resounding lockout of the GTC front row, with Marco Cioci heading the group at 1:43.704s in the #63 Ferrari. Compatriot  Francesco Castellacci ended the session just two tenths behind, while the next best entry, the TDS Racing BMW Z4, was almost a second off the pace.

The ELMS 4 Hours of Imola gets underway at 14:00 local time (13:00 BST).