Despite their worst result of the season in the rain-shortened Four Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday, G-Drive Racing took the European Le Mans Series LMP2 Teams’ Championship, while their pairing of Andrea Pizzitola and Roman Rusinov clinched the Drivers’ title with one round of the season to spare.
Pizzitola and Rusinov, who have been partnered in four of the five rounds by Frenchman Jean-Eric Vergne, finished twelfth in Belgium but with half points being awarded thanks to the race not running to at least three-quarters distance, the #24 Racing Engineering Oreca’s failure to better seventh was enough to clinch the title for the #26.
Frenchman Pizzitola says the decision to join the #26 Oreca’s line-up in 2018 has given him the opportunity to show his potential behind the wheel of a LMP2 machine, and he was proud of the achievement to take the title with such a professional team.
“I am so happy,” said Pizzitola. “It has been difficult for me for the past few years learning LMP2; I’ve learnt a lot of things but I’ve never had the opportunity to show my potential.
“This year G-Drive Racing and TDS gave me this opportunity, so I am very thankful for that. I feel very lucky to be in such a great team, very professional, and we had the best car to fight for the title.
“So I am very happy for the team and myself today.”
Due to the conditions, Rusinov did not manage to get behind the wheel of the Oreca on Sunday, but the Russian was pleased to have contributed during a season that has seen the #26 crew secure three victories at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Red Bull Ring and Silverstone.
“I think I enjoy winning races rather than championships, so I am a little disappointed because today I would’ve liked to have fought a little bit more,” said Rusinov. “But at the end of the day I am more than happy because the Race Director took the right decision to stop the race as it was quite dangerous.
“We won the championship, perhaps not exactly the way we would’ve liked but we’ve achieved some great results through the whole season and the hard work pays. I am happy for G-Drive and I am happy for my teammate Andrea.
“It’s just a shame for Jean-Eric who is not here with us but we couldn’t have done this without him.”