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European Le Mans Series

TDS Tops Saturday Free Practice at Paul Ricard

Thiriet by TDS Racing tops Saturday Free Practice at Paul Ricard…

Photo: ELMS

Photo: ELMS

A French team with a roster of three French drivers made the best of their home field advantage by placing first in LMP2 and overall in two European Le Mans Series practice sessions at Circuit Paul Ricard.

Tristan Gommendy pedaled his No. 46 Thiriet by TDS Racing Oreca 05 Nissan to the top of the Saturday charts in Free Practice 2, setting a 1:47.546 to beat the top time in Free Practice 1.

Gommendy’s flying lap was notably 0.291 seconds quicker than the 2014 pole at Paul Ricard.

The No. 40 Krohn Racing Ligier JS P2, driven by Olivier Pla, managed a 1:47.921 in Free Practice 2, good enough for second place overall by the end of a very windy Saturday.

The Nissan-powered No. 21 AF Racing BR01 wasn’t able to improve its time in Free Practice 2, but Mikhail Aleshin’s pacesetting Free Practice 1 flying lap, a 1:47.986, put the Russian team third overall.

In LMP3, cyclist-turned-driver Chris Hoy was the only driver to improve in Free Practice 2. Michael Simpson, meanwhile, lead the class charge in the No. 2 Team LNT Ginetta Nissan after having set a 1:55.545 in Free Practice 1.

Alessandro Pier Guidi led the GTE charge on Saturday, driving his No. 56 AT Racing Ferrari F458 Italia to a 1:56.256 in Free Practice 2. Irishman Matt Griffin was quick enough for second in GTE, setting a 1:56.367 in the afternoon session.

Porsche factory driver Richard Lietz drove his No. 88 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR to third overall in GTE, courtesy of a 1:56.684 late in the day.

Frenchman Franck Perera put the No. 59 TDS Racing BMW Z4 GT3 on top in GTC in the morning session, with his teammates Dino Lunardi and Eric Dermont having difficulty reciprocating the quick pace in Free Practice 2.

Perera’s 1:58.002 stood up against Marco Cioci’s afternoon charge, with the Italian managing a 1:58.768 in his No. 63 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia GT3. Rounding out the top three in class was Casper Elgaard in the No. 68 Massive Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT3, which Elgaard piloted to a 1:59.824.

Qualifying will begin at 9:00 a.m. local time tomorrow.

RESULTS: Free Practice 1
RESULTS: Free Practice 2

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

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