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European Le Mans Series

Jota Sport Wins 4H Le Castellet

Jota Sport wins at Paul Ricard, extends ELMS points lead…

Photo: Brecht Decancq

Photo: Brecht Decancq

Jota Sport took a critical victory at the fifth round of the European Le Mans Series at Circuit Paul Ricard on Sunday.

Despite a sterling effort by Greaves’ second-placed Jon Lancaster, Harry Tincknell drove the No. 38 Gibson 015S Nissan to winner’s circle in France and, more importantly, an 18-point championship lead going into the final round at Estoril.

A newly rejuvenated AF Racing managed to snag the final podium position, with Kirill Ladygin bringing the No. 21 BR01 Nissan home 35.459 seconds behind the leader.

What could have been a battle for victory for the No. 46 Thiriet by TDS Racing Oreca 05 ended in disaster.

Starting driver Ludovic Badey sustained a left rear puncture early on after an off-track excursion, which had already netted him a penalty. As a consequence, the car developed a brake fluid leak later on in the four-hour race, taking the hometown favorite out of contention.

Champions were crowned, meanwhile, in LMP3. Charlie Robertson’s victory ensured the No. 3 Team LNT Ginetta Nissan, co-driven by Chris Hoy, took the first ever European Le Mans Series LMP3 championship title.

The No. 5 Villorba Corse Ginetta Nissan of Roberto Lacorte and Giorgio Sernagiotto finished second while Konstantin Calko drove the No. 15 SVK by Speed Factory car to third, one lap down on the leaders.

A troubled race for the No. 56 AT Racing Ferrari F458 Italia saw Andrea Rizzoli take the No. 60 Formula Racing Ferrari to its second consecutive GTE victory, further extending the Danish team’s lead in the class standings.

BMW Team Marc VDS placed a solid second, meanwhile, and Rory Butcher pedaled the No. 66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari F458 Italia to third in class.

Contact with the No. 25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2 Nissan and multiple penalties for abuse of track limits ended the AT Racing’s chance at victory, with Alessandro Pier Guidi bringing the car home in sixth place in class and two laps down.

In GTC, Franck Perera all but made up for TDS’ LMP2 disappointment by taking the class win in the No. 59 TDS Racing BMW Z4 GT3. Perera’s win extends TDS Racing’s GTC championship lead.

The No. 62 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia GT3 placed second, with Francesco Castellacci hauling his car from last to a podium position in a valiant effort. The No. 68 Massive Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT3 took the final podium position, with Casper Elgaard driving the car to the finish.

The final round of the ELMS will take place at Autódromo do Estoril on Oct. 17-18.

RESULTS: Four Hours of Le Castellet

Beck Duggleby (@BDuggleby) is a contributor to Sportscar365, focusing on coverage of the European Le Mans Series for 2015.

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