4 Hours of Imola: Thiriet ORECA tops first practice

Pierre Thiriet broke Gibson’s stronghold at the top of the European Le Mans Series timing sheets by setting the fastest time in first practice for the 4 Hours of Imola.

The Frenchman, driving the Thiriet by TDS Racing ORECA 05, recorded a 1:41.531s lap in wet conditions to eclipse Greaves Motorsport’s Gary Hirsch by 0.082 seconds.

Pegasus Racing ended the 90 minute session as the third fastest team, with Julien Schell submitting a 1:42.998s best in the #29 Morgan Nissan. JOTA Sport’s Harry Tincknell assumed fourth overall in the #38 Gibson 015S, just over two seconds adrift of Thiriet’s benchmark.

Ibanez Racing and Murphy Prototypes finished fifth and sixth respectively, while the two SMP Racing-entered BR01-Nissan coupes were around five seconds off the pace in their maiden ELMS practice session.

Team LNT possessed the two fastest LMP3 entries, with Charlie Robertson’s 1:54.670s lap holding out as quickest, 0.5 seconds quicker than Mike Simpson in the sister car.

The AT Racing Ferrari 458 Italia set a clear pace at the head of the LMGTE field, thanks to a quick 1:50.824s lap from Alessandro Pier Guidi. The Italian was 1.4 seconds faster than Marco Mapelli in the Proton Porsche, while Andrea Rizzoli rounded out the top three in the Formula Racing Ferrari. The top two LMGTE cars were quicker than the best of the LMP3 runners.

Marco Cioci led the way in GTC after setting a blistering 1:48.938s lap in the #63 AF Corse Ferrari, which was enough to keep the Italian in the top ten overall, ahead of the LMGTE field. TDS Racing’s Dino Lunardi followed in the BMW Z4 GT3, 7.3 seconds in arrears. The only other GTC car to gain a sufficient amount of track time was the #64 AF Corse Ferrari, after the #62 sister car and the #69 Massive Motorsport Aston Martin failed to complete a lap.

The Aston Martin caused the first full course yellow of the session after Kristian Poulsen exited the track at turn three. The second caution was thrown after 45 minutes when Jesus Fuster beached the #15 SVK by Speed Factory Ginetta – this was changed to a red flag to allow the marshals to safely extricate the car from its position at turn 15.

The stoppage prompted the stewards to extend the session by 15 minutes, but an altercation involving the Murphy Prototypes ORECA and the Lanan Racing Ginetta in the challenging conditions prompted another red flag period.

4 Hours of Imola FP1 Results

146LMP2Thiriet by TDS RacingORECA 05 Nissan1:41.531s
241LMP2Greaves MotorsportGibson 015S Nissan+0.082
329LMP2Pegasus RacingMorgan Nissan+1.467
438LMP2JOTA SportGibson 015S Nissan+2.003
545LMP2Ibanez RacingORECA 03 Nissan+2.758
648LMP2Murphy PrototypesORECA 03R Nissan+3.962
727LMP2SMP RacingBR01 Nissan+4.549
837LMP2SMP RacingBR01 Nissan+5.881
933LMP2Eurasia MotorsportORECA 03R Nissan+6.415
1063GTCAF CorseFerrari 458 Italia+7.407
1140LMP2Krohn RacingLigier JS P2 Judd+8.224
1256LMGTEAT RacingFerrari 458 Italia+9.293
1344LMP2Ibanez RacingORECA 03 Nissan+9.799
1488LMGTEProton CompetitionPorsche 911 RSR+10.693
153LMP3Team LNTGinetta Nissan+13.139
162LMP3Team LNTGinetta Nissan+13.652
1760LMGTEFormula RacingFerrari 458 Italia+13.816
1852LMGTEBMW Team MarcVDSBMW Z4 GTE+14.446
1959GTCTDS RacingBMW ZT GT3+14.716
205LMP3Cetilar Villorba CorseGinetta Nissan+15.023
2111LMP3Lanan RacingGinetta Nissan+15.311
2251LMGTEAF CorseFerrari 458 Italia+15.351
2366LMGTEJMW MotorsportFerrari 458 Italia+15.594
2464GTCAF CorseFerrari 458 Italia+15.818
2586LMGTEGulf Racing UKPorsche 911 RSR+15.936
2655LMGTEAF CorseFerrari 458 Italia+16.239
277LMP3University of BoltonGinetta Nissan+17.928
2815LMP3SVK by Speed FactoryGinetta Nissan+18.810
2962GTCAF CorseFerrari 458 ItaliaNo time
3068GTCMassive MotorsportAston Martin Vantage GT3No time