G-Drive Racing By Algarve claimed victory in an action-packed second round of the Asian Le Mans Series at The Bend Motorsport Park.
Roman Rusinov brought the No. 26 G-Drive Aurus 01 Gibson he shares with James French and Leonard Hoogenboom across the line at the end of the four-hour race to take victory by 51 seconds.
Rusinov emerged ahead of the Eurasia Motorsport Racing New Zealand No. 1 Ligier JS P217 Gibson of Nick Cassidy after the final stops with a late Full Course Yellow giving G-Drive the upper-hand.
Eurasia called Cassidy in early for his final stop, with a FCY in the final 20 minutes allowing Rusinov to stop with the field at a reduced pace and ultimately lose less time in the pits.
Cassidy appeared set for second but he slowed with five minutes to go with a mechanical issue and the Eurasia entry he shares with Shane van Gisbergen and Daniel Gaunt was pushed back into the garage.
This gave the sister No. 36 Eurasia Motorsport Racing Australia Ligier of Nick Foster, Roberto Merhi and Aidan Read second, while Thunderhead Carlin Racing’s Dallara P217 Gibson of Harry Tincknell, Jack Manchester and Ben Barnicoat moved up to third.
Gaunt snatched the lead from pole-sitter Manchester at the first corner off the start, with the top four embroiled in a tight battle in the opening standings.
A dramatic first half of the race saw two FCYs and a lengthy Safety Car period, the latter of which occurred in the second hour when the RLR Msport LMP2 Am class Oreca 05 Nissan caught fire.
John Farano had to stop on track after the car’s rear bodywork caught alight, with Farano able to escape the flames as they engulfed the car.
Van Gisbergen made his way into second and began putting pressure on leader Hoogenboom as the pair were involved in a tense battle.
However, after an earlier stop van Gisbergen took over lead under a FCY for Chen Weian’s No. 16 BMW M6 GT3 which was punted into the gravel by the Car Guy Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 of Kei Cozzolino.
G-Drive ran deep into the final stint and were given a free-kick by the final FCY handing the team victory before Eurasia New Zealand retired to the garage in the dying stages with mechanical woes.
In GT, Car Guy Racing took the checkered flag first with the No. 7 Ferrari of Come Ledogar, Cozzolino and Takeshi Kimura.
Car Guy Racing ended up at the front in a topsy-turvy GT race after taking over the lead from the HubAuto Corsa Ferrari of Davide Rigon, Marcos Gomes and Liam Talbot who were second.
Spirit of Race and T2 Motorsports ensured four Ferraris finished in the top four.
LMP3 honors went the way of the No. 2 Nielsen Racing Norma M30 Nissan driven by Tony Wells and Colin Noble.
Inter Europol Competition’s No. 13 Ligier JS P3 Nissan came home second in LMP2 as ACE1 Villorba Corse completed the top three with another Ligier.
Victory in the LMP2 Am Trophy class for previous-gen prototype machinery went to Rick Ware Racing’s No. 52 Ligier JS P2 Nissan of Cody Ware and Gustas Grinbergas.
RESULTS: 4H The Bend