Jota Sport gets stuck in to ELMS title fight with victory on home turf
Harry Tincknell, Simon Dolan and Giedo van der Garde got Jota Sport’s quest to win the European Le Mans Series at last off to the perfect start with a dominant victory at Silverstone. The win was doubly sweet given most of the team’s likely title rivals hit trouble in what was a typically dramatic race.
Tincknell started fourth, but it took him less than a minute of the four-hour race to take the lead. Two of those places were handed to him in the opening seconds by third-place starter Leo Roussel spearing the Pegasus Racing Morgan into the pitwall after getting caught out on cold tyres, and polesitter Pierre Thiriet running wide at the first corner in the TDS Racing ORECA.
Now second, Tincknell chased the BR01 of Andreas Wirth down the Wellington Straight and took the lead into the Brooklands left-hander. With Tincknell reeling off his double stint and pitting with a lead that had only dipped back under 20 seconds thanks to struggles with tyre graining, the G-drive-backed Jota Gibson-nissan should never have lost control of the race. But shortly after handing over to Dolan, a full-course yellow triggered by Olympic legend Chris Hoy spinning into the gravel at Chapel, allowed the second-placed Ligier, double-stinted by Paul-Loup Chatin, to pit while Dolan was crawling and give 1998 World Cup-winning goalkeeper Fabian Barthez the lead.
Dolan caught and passed Barthez for the lead at Stowe with relative ease, although the Frenchman would have held on to second had the car not slowed in the final hour with Timothe Buret at the wheel and dropped to ninth.
Van der Garde closed out the race, winning by 95 seconds over the BR01 of Wirth, Julian Leal and Stefano Coletti. Briton Jonathan Coleman was part of the Lombard Racing Ligier-judd crew that took third on debut.
United Autosports finished first and second in the 19-car LMP3 field, with Alex Brundle, Michael Guasch and Christian England’s Ligier leading home the sister car of Mark Patterson, Matt Bell and Wayne Boyd.
In GTE, the Aston Martin Racing Vantage of Alex Macdowall, Darren Turner and Andrew Howard triumphed after the JMW Motorsport Ferrari was excluded for running a non-homologated front splitter.
Bill Sollis: a winner again
Jota’s Tincknell, Dolan and van der Garde controlled the ELMS opener