G-DRIVE RACING BANK VITAL ELMS POINTS AT PAUL RICARD
30th August 2016
G-Drive Racing secured more critical points in the chase for the European Le Mans Series title at Paul Ricard with a solid fifth place finish.
The #38 Gibson 015S-Nissan, driven by regular trio Harry Tincknell, Simon Dolan and Giedo van der Garde, made up four positions from its grid slot of ninth, and had been running as high as second in the opening part of the four-hour race at Le Castellet.
Tincknell starred during his double-stint at the start of the race in the G-Drive Racing LMP2 car as he carved his way through the order in the early laps.
By the 20-minute mark, Tincknell had climbed to fifth, and after 40 minutes he had put the G-Drive Racing car in to a provisional podium position.
After 47 minutes, the #38 G-Drive Racing Gibson 015S-Nissan made its first pitstop, during which Tincknell stayed in the cockpit, and once he had resumed the Briton quickly caught and passed the Dragonspeed car of Henrik Hedman to move up into second place at the start of the second hour.
That was where Tincknell remained until handing over to Simon Dolan just shy of the 90-minute mark, although a poorly timed Full Course Yellow allowed the SMP Racing entry to sneak into second during the second round of stops.
Undeterred, Dolan managed to catch Julian Leal in the BR01 over the course of his stint, and was right behind the Colombian ex-GP2 driver when the race reached the halfway mark.
Dolan finally cleared his adversary right at the end of his stint, before bringing the car into the pits for a third time, although the SMP car – now in the hands of Stefano Coletti – managed to get back ahead in the pitstop phase.
Dolan was able to comfortably hold onto third place prior to handing over to Giedo van der Garde for the final stint with 45 minutes left on the clock.
The Dutchman came under threat from two of the fastest drivers in the LMP2 class in the form of Eurasia’s Tristan Gommendy and Dragonspeed’s Nicolas Lapierre late on, both Frenchmen armed with the class-leading Oreca 05 car.
Despite van der Garde’s best efforts at keeping his adversaries at bay, the G-Drive Racing car, operationally run by Jota Sport, slipped to fifth place in the final 15 minutes of the four hour event.
Nonetheless, the result still meant a healthy haul of 10 points for the G-Drive squad, which will be valuable in the ongoing championship fight, which is now led by the Thiriet by TDS Racing team with only two races remaining.
The next round on the ELMS calendar takes place at Spa-Francorchamps on 25 September.
Giedo van der Garde
“It was a tough weekend for us, right from qualifying when we put the hard tyres when most were on the mediums and we ninth on the grid. In the race Harry did a fantastic job at the start and we were unlucky with the Full Course Yellow.
“When I got in the car I had to run with the hard compound Dunlop and as it was a little bit colder they just wouldn’t switch on for us and the car was sliding a lot and the pace was poor. We ended fifth which was a pity but we will learn from it but we have two races left and we will give it our all.”
“I really enjoyed making my way through the pack at the start and managed to pull off some great moves on the inside, outside, wherever I could and managed to make good progress through the field and got to within ten seconds of the leader.
“Simon did a great job but unfortunately our tyre gamble didn’t pay off and Giedo couldn’t hold on to third on the hard tyres. We will regroup now and arrive at Spa fighting and stronger than ever.”
Sam Hignett, Team Principal– JOTA Sport
“It was a frustrating weekend for us and the result was dictated by the tyre choice which was obviously not the right one in qualifying and then at the end of the race.
“Looking at the positives from Paul Ricard, we showed great pace when on the medium tyres and that we can still fight for the big points with our faithful Gibson 015S-Nissan against much newer machinery.
“We look forward to Spa now, a track where we have had great success in the past, and with 50 points to play the championship is still open.”
LMP2 Race Result – Paul Ricard
Thiriet/Beche/Conway Thiriet by TDS Oreca Nissan
Coletti/Leal/Wirth SMP Racing BR01-Nissan
Hedman/Lapierre/Hanley Dragonspeed Oreca-Nissan
Gommendy/de Bruijn Eurasia Oreca-Nissan
Dolan/Tincknell/van der Garde G-Drive Racing Gibson Nissan
Rojas/Canal/Berthon Greaves Ligier JS P2-Nissan
2016 European Le Mans Series Drivers – After Four Rounds
Beche/Thiriet 76 points
Dolan/Tincknell/van der Garde 68 points
Coletti/Leal/Wirth 61 points
Hirakawa 51 points
Gommendy/de Bruijn 40 points
Hedman/Lapierre/Hanley 31 points
2016 European Le Mans Series Teams – After Four Rounds
Thiriet by TDS Racing 76 points
G-Drive Racing 68 points
SMP Racing 61 points
Eurasia Motorsport 40 points
Dragonspeed 31 points
Krohn Racing 24 points