G-DRIVE RACING INCREASE ELMS POINTS LEAD AFTER PODIUM FINISH AT IMOLA
16th May 2016
G-Drive Racing increased their lead of the European Le Mans Series with a deserved podium finish in a Four Hours of Imola that was heavily affected by challenging and variable weather conditions on Sunday (May 15).
Giedo van der Garde took over the #38 G-Drive Racing Gibson 015S-Nissan from Harry Tincknell with just under 90 minutes of the race remaining and kept the car on track during heavy rain to maintain the team’s 100 per cent podium record in 2016.
Simon Dolan started the race from fifth spot and maintained station impressively inside the top seven throughout his double stint; slick work from the G-Drive Racing pit crew kept the Gibson machine in the hunt for overall and LMP2 category honours during both of the British driver’s fuel stops.
His countryman Tincknell took over from Dolan on the 97-minute mark and made it as high as fourth when the race’s first full-course yellow was declared.
Quick thinking resulted in an early fuel stop for Tincknell, which put him out of sequence with his track rivals, but looked set to gain the car track position once the various strategies had played out towards the end of the race.
Tincknell had risen to second place by the time everyone had stopped for a third time, and handed the car over to ex-Formula 1 racer van der Garde with an hour and 20 minutes to go during a second full-course yellow.
Rain began to fall shortly after the Dutchman took over and a sprinkling soon became a deluge. While van der Garde pitted for wet Dunlop tyres, the weather necessitated another full-course yellow period being declared.
With track conditions worsening, the safety car was called out with 25 minutes to go. It remained on-track to the finish with van der Garde taking the chequered flag in second place.
G-Drive increased their lead of the ELMS teams’ championship from seven points to 13 over nearest challengers SMP Racing while Dolan, Tincknell and van der Garde are ahead in the battle for the drivers’ title by the same amount.
The G-Drive Racing Gibson 015S-Nisaan, which is operationally run by the JOTA Sport Organisation, next takes to the track at the Le Mans 24 Hours round of the FIA World Endurance Championship on June 18-19 along with the teams’ ORECA 05-Nissan. The next ELMS outing is at the Red Bull Ring in Austria on July 16-17.
“Second place and an increased championship lead is a great result for the team this weekend because we didn’t have race-winning pace in the car this time. It’s a testament to the team, who made a great strategy call to pit Harry early under a full-course yellow, and to all three drivers, that we’ve achieved this result.”
Giedo van der Garde
“I think we did the maximum we could have done this weekend under the circumstances. When I went out I lost time behind slower cars in the Full Course Yellow and then the Safety Car came out which effectively ended the race. We got great points, the team was sharp in the pits and my qualifying lap was good. The competition is fierce but we have shown that we can be very competitive in a variety of conditions so far this season.”
“We have left Imola in a stronger championship position than when we got here so it has been a good weekend all in all. Simon did a fine job at the start and then when a Full Course Yellow came out I told the team I would hand over to Giedo, as it was essentially a free full service. It was a shame the race was so wet in the final hour as we could have at least pushed and put some more pressure on the TDS car.”
David Clark, Partner – JOTA Sport
“A win and a second place in the first two races are very satisfying results indeed. The whole team did another fantastic job this weekend and to extend the points lead in the team and driver standings is superb. It also gives the No.38 crew good momentum heading to Le Mans next month too. It will be the biggest weekend for us in many years, as we run two cars at La Sarthe for the first time. We can’t wait to get there.”
Results and Points
Overall/LMP2 Race Result – Imola
1. Thiriet/Beche/Hirakawa Thiriet by TDS Oreca 05-Nissan
2. Dolan/Tincknell/van der Garde G-Drive Gibson 015S-Nissan
3. Hedman/Lapierre/Hanley Dragonspeed Oreca 05-Nissan
4. Coletti/Covelli/Wirth SMP BR01-Nissan
5. Junjin/de Bruijn/Gommendy Eurasia Oreca 05-Nissan
6. Wirdheim/Jonsson/Pla Krohn Ligier JS P2-Nissan
2016 European Le Mans Series LMP2 Teams’ Championship – After Two Rounds
1 G-Drive Racing 43pts
2 SMP Racing 30pts
3 Thiriet by TDS Racing 26pts
4 Krohn Racing 20pts
5 Dragonspeed 16pts
6 So24! by Lombard Racing 15pts
Drivers’ Championship – After Two Rounds
1 Dolan/Tincknell/van der Garde 43pts
2 Coletti/Wirth 30pts
3 Thiriet/Beche/Hirakawa 26pts
4 Wirdheim/Johnsson 20pts
5 Lapierre/Hedman/Hanley 16pts
6 Coleman/Lombard/Capillaire 15pts