Thiriet by TDS Racing captured overall victory in a thrilling second round of the European Le Mans Series season at Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari on Sunday.
Tristan Gommendy bounced back from an unlucky qualifying session to dominate the second half of the four-hour race, bringing home his No. 46 Oreca 05 Nissan ahead of the No. 48 Murphy Prototypes Oreca 03R Nissan, driven by the young Frenchman Nathanaël Berthon.
The pole-sitting No. 38 Jota Sport Gibson 015S had been leading up until Simon Dolan had to pit under caution after breaking the front left wing from a bumpy ride through Variante Alta.
Despite a rather hectic race for the Jota Sport crew, which included a pit stop mere minutes before race end, Filipe Albuquerque managed to snag a podium position in third.
The win for Gommendy and co-drivers Pierre Thiriet and Ludovic Badey marked the first for the Oreca 05 in only its third race.
Attrition marred what could have been a tight LMP3 battle at Imola. The No. 7 University of Bolton Ginetta-Nissan crossed the finish line first with Rob Garofall and Morten Donations at the controls.
Garofall was able to finish over two laps ahead of the rest of the field which had been lead at a time by the No. 3 Team LNT car until it accumulated both a stop-and-go penalty for a collision and a lengthy stay in the garage following a mechanical issue during a pit stop.
The No. 56 AT Racing Ferrari F458 Italia took the class win in GTE after driver Alessandro Pier Guidi ferreted away the lead on lap 130.
Pier Guidi finished 3.032 seconds ahead of the No. 88 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR of Marco Mapelli, while the No. 60 Formula Racing car was demoted to third after Andrea Rizzoli got passed by both Pier Guidi and Mapelli in the closing minutes of the race.
Pier Guidi shared the class-winning Ferrari with Alexander Talkanitsa Sr. and Jr.
In GTC, FIA WEC stalwart Stuart Hall brought his No. 62 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia home first, leading his nearest competitor (incidentally, his teammate Gianluca Roda) by a lap. Rounding out an AF Corse podium sweep was Felipe Barreiros in the No. 64 car.
Francesco Castellacci and Thomas Flohr completed the lineup alongside Hall.
The race was affected by relatively few cautions.
The first was thrown on lap 19 for an excess of gravel on the track, while the second was deployed on lap 62 to retrieve a stalled No. 5 Villorba Corse Ginetta-Nissan from the pit lane entry.
The next round of the ELMS will take place at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria, on July 11-12.
RESULTS: Four Hours of Imola