European Le Mans Series

4 Hours of Imola: Thiriet ORECA tops first practice

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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

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