4H Imola: Panis-Barthez paces first practice

Paul-Loup Chatin set the fastest lap for Panis-Barthez Competition during opening practice for round two of the European Le Mans Series.

The Frenchman snatched the quickest time of the 90 minute Friday afternoon session with a late 1:34.435s effort to beat Eurasia Motorsport’s Tristan Gommendy by 0.805 seconds.

Chatin will share the #23 Ligier JSP2-Nissan with Fabien Barthez and Timothe Buret during the four hour race on Sunday, May 15.

Third quickest was Mathias Beche in the Thiriet by TDS Racing Oreca 05-Nissan, who turned in a 1:39.085s time around the three mile circuit.

Fourth overall and fastest of the open top LMP2 contingent was the Murphy Prototypes Oreca 03R driven by Garry Findlay, who is making his debut with the team this weekend.

Bjorn Wirdheim completed the top five for Krohn Racing, while Giedo van der Garde was sixth quickest for championship leaders G-Drive Racing.

In LMP3, Eurointernational took the top spot after Giorgio Mondini edged out the #2 United Autosports entry driven by Alex Brundle.

Mondini’s 1:40.099s lap aboard the #11 Ligier JSP3-Nissan was just 0.069 ahead of Brundle, who was also driving a Ligier.

Close behind in third was the #19 Duqueine Engineering Ligier of Dino Lunardi, who missed out on the fastest lap by 0.172 seconds.

Fourth place went to Wayne Boyd in the #3 United Autosports machine, while FIA WEC star Roman Rusinov rounded out the top five in the second Eurointernational entry.

LMGTE was paced by the JMW Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia which was excluded from the previous race at Silverstone. Italian Andrea Bertolini topped the order with a 1:42.262s time on home soil, eclipsing the Formula Racing Ferrari of Mikkel Mac by three tenths of a second.

Mixing up the top three was Klaus Bachler, who recorded a 1:41.772s aboard the #88 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR.

A second 90 minute free practice session will take place tomorrow (Saturday, May 14) at 09:35. Qualifying for the 4 Hours of Imola will be held later in the day, with LMGTE setting things in motion at 13:50 (times local).