Pescarolo wins Algarve night race
Pescarolo Sport claimed its first Le Mans Series victory in three years at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Jean-Christophe Boullion and Christophe Tinseau claimed a narrow victory over the best of Aston Martin Racing's LMP1 coupes after nearly six hours of racing through dusk on Saturday evening and into the small hours. The solo Pescarolo-Judd 01 crossed the line 85 seconds ahead of the Aston-engined Lola driven by Stefan Mucke, Jan Charouz and Tomas Enge.
The Pescarolo, which had qualified only seventh, came through to second behind the AMR car in little more than 24 laps with Boullion at the wheel. The Frenchman then battled with Mucke through the second hour, before the Aston driver locked up as he came upon a slower car and spun. The Aston subsequently remained in contact through the race, despite a gearbox problem in the latter stages, but the win belonged to Pescarolo.
"Seventh place in qualifying was not where we wanted to be, but the team did a great job in the warm-up and the car was fantastic to drive," said Boullion.
The second AIM-engined ORECA 01 driven by Bruno Senna and Tiago Monteiro ended up third after a conservative run. The French team's lead entry led the early laps in the hands of pole winner Nicolas Lapierre before an unscheduled stop to fix a fuel leak robbed him and team-mate Olivier Panis of any chance of victory. A high attrition rate allowed them to come back to fourth by the finish.
LMP2 honours went to the local ASM squad, whose Ginetta-Zytek dominated the secondary prototype division with Olivier Pla and Miguel Amaral driving. Pla finished his stint a minute up on his nearest opponent and then problems for their rivals allowed the Frenchman and his teammate to ease to a two-lap victory.
The Luc Alphand Chevrolet team won the two-car GT1 class. Patrice Goueslard, Yann Clairay and Julien Jousse easily had the legs of the Larbre Saleen, which eventually finished 18 laps behind after suffering myriad problems.
The British JMW Ferrari drivers Rob Bell and Gianmaria Bruni came from behind to take GT2 honours ahead of the Imsa Performance Porsche raced by early leader Patrick Pilet and team boss Raymond Narac.