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European Le Mans Series

Panis Oreca Wins 4H Imola; Iron Dames Claim LMGT3 Honors

Milesi, Maldonado, Leclerc come out on top in European Le Mans Series round…

Photo: MPS Agency

Panis Racing came out on top in Sunday’s 4 Hours of Imola, with a quicker final pit stop sequence for the No. 65 Oreca of Charles Milesi edging out Louis Deletraz’s No. 14 AO by TF entry in the European Le Mans Series round.

Milesi emerged in the lead after the final fuel-only stops in the closing 25 minutes, after previously running second to Deletraz, whose entry had controlled the majority of the race.

The Frenchman finished 11.357 seconds ahead of Deletraz, who faded in the closing laps, to give the TDS Racing-run entry its first class victory of the season.

Milesi shared top honors with Manuel Maldonado and Arthur Leclerc, who claimed his first LMP2 victory.

While the No. 34 Inter Europol Competition Oreca of Luca Ghiotto charged to the front early on, a nose change for the Polish squad dropped it behind the AO by TF entry as well as the Panis Oreca.

Robert Kubica’s AO by TF entry came under pressure from Leclerc around the halfway mark, prior to an accident for Paul-Loup Chatin in the No. 37 Cool Racing entry that led to the race’s only safety car period.

The race restarted with 90 minutes to go and featured several Full Course Yellows that further slowed the field.

The No. 10 Vector Sport Oreca completed the LMP2 podium in third with Felipe Drugovich edging out the No. 43 Inter Eurpol entry of Tom Dillmann at the finish.

Job van Uitert brought the No. 28 IDEC Sport car home in fifth, ahead of the No. 23 United Autosports entry and delayed No. 34 Inter Europol Oreca that was later forced to serve a drive-through penalty for overtaking while under a yellow flag.

LMP2 Pro-Am class honors went to the No. 20 Algarve Pro Racing Oreca of Richard Bradley, Alex Quinn and Kriton Lentoudis, with Quinn finishing ahead of Matthieu Vaxiviere’s No. 83 AF Corse machine.

Quinn crossed the line ninth overall, one position behind the sister APR entry of Alex Lynn.

The No. 11 Eurointernational Ligier JS P320 Nissan duo of Matthew Richard Bell and Adam Ali, meanwhile, picked up their first class victory of the season in LMP3.

Ali brought the car home ahead of the No. 8 Team Virage and No. 35 Ultimate Ligiers, which completed the class podium in second and third, respectively.

Iron Dames Hold On for Dramatic LMGT3 Win

Michele Gatting, on double-stinted Goodyear tires, held off a hard-charging Valentin Hasse-Clot for victory in the LMGT3 class, in the closest-fought battle of the four categories.

Gatting’s No. 85 Iron Dames Porsche 911 GT3 R overcame a ten-second penalty added to the car’s final pit stop for a FCY infringement to retain the lead after electing for a fuel-only final stop.

The Dane came under heavy pressure from Hasse-Clot’s No. 59 Racing Sprit of Leman Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Evo, with the two cars making contact on at least one occasion.

However, Gatting managed to finish 0.771 seconds ahead of Hasse-Clot at the checkered flag after the Frenchman came under attack by Daniel Serra on the final lap.

Hasse-Clot’s rear bumper came loose during the final battle for second.

Gatting shared top class honors in the Proton Competition-run Porsche with Sarah Bovy and Rahel Frey, marking the Iron Dames’ long-awaited first win of the year.

Serra’s Kessel Ferrari 296 GT3 completed the class podium in third, having passed the No. 97 Grid Motorsport by TF Aston of Lorcan Hanafin as part of the Ferrari factory driver’s late charge.

RESULTS: 4 Hours of Imola

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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