Pierre Thiriet took the Thiriet by TDS Racing Oreca 05 Nissan he shares with Mathias Beche and Ryo Hirakawa to the win of Sunday’s Four Hours of Red Bull Ring, overcoming unscheduled pit stops and damage.
Throughout the race, the No. 46 Oreca Nissan was forced to make two stops to repair a damage front headlight cluster. After the first change, the red and black car ran with a blue and white front nose piece, still in KCMG colors from the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
There was a similar problem with 50 minutes to go in the third round of the European Le Mans Series, as the front right headlight came loose after vibration from a sausage curb, but this time Thiriet exited the pits with a front end in the correct TDS livery.
It looked set to be a straight battle between the Frenchman and G-Drive Racing’s Harry Tincknell, until the No. 38 Gibson 015S Nissan collided with Remy Streibig’s Pegasus Racing Morgan Nissan.
This happened with 40 minutes on the clock, just as Tincknell had came out of the pits for his final fuel stop.
After repairs for a new front-left bodywork piece, Tincknell dropped back to third position, allowing Tristan Gommendy to come through for second place in his Eurasia Motorsport Oreca Nissan.
A Full Course Yellow was issued after the incident, meaning that Tincknell didn’t lose too much time in the pits.
Gommendy had started the race in fourth position, and along with Pu Junjin and Nico Pieter de Bruijn, put in one of the team’s strongest performances in memory.
Thiriet by TDS Racing crossed the line first, 51 seconds ahead of Eurasia Motorsport and G-Drive Racing.
SMP Racing finished fourth with the No. 32 BR Engineering BR01 Nissan, while Algarve Pro Racing was fifth, as the highest-placed Ligier JS P2 Nissan.
Panis Barthez Competition led from pole position for the first 40 minutes but Timothe Buret slowly dropped down the order with countless troubles for the No. 23 Ligier Nissan during his opening stint.
Buret served a drive-through penalty for an incorrect starting formation, and then collided with JMW Motorsport’s Rory Butcher, likely due to the Ligier Nissan’s faulty headlight. Ultimately, the Panis Barthez car finished seventh, behind Greaves Motorsport.
The third and final Full Course Yellow came out in the last ten minutes to retrieve Tracy Krohn’s beached Ligier Nissan.
Duqueine Engineering ended United Autosport’s 100 percent success rate in LMP3, as the No. 19 Ligier JS P3 Nissan took the class victory.
David Droux took the lead from the start, and shared the car with Dino Lunardi and David Hallyday.
Despite competition from sometime-leader Eurointernational, the No. 19 car re-took the lead before the end and didn’t look back.
However, United Autosports wasn’t too far back, with a second position for the No. 2 Silversone and Imola-winning car of Alex Brundle, Mike Guasch and Christian England. 360 Racing crossed the line third.
It was a stellar performance for JMW Motorsport in GTE, with the No. 66 Ferrari F458 Italia of Rob Smith, Rory Butcher and Andrea Bertolini taking class victory, despite damage picked up in the contact with Buret.
Rui Aguas brought the No. 51 AF Corse car to second, while Alessandro Pier Guidi completed the race in third for AT Racing, making it an all-Ferrari class podium.
RESULTS: Four Hours of Red Bull Ring