Pescarolo team wins first Asian LeMans race

The winning Pescarolo
Jérome MUGNIER – ACO/Nikon

There were four different leaders in the top category, fantastic battles at every level, sudden twists and suspense! At the end of this grande premiere, the Pescarolo prototypes scored a double, first of all in LM P1 with Christophe Tinseau and Shinji Nakano and also in LM P2 for the Oak Racing team.

Just a few details finally decided the outcome of the race. The Lola-Judd that led initially ran into headlight problems. Slightly overlong pit stops for the Oreca that took up the running spoiled its victory chances. The Lola-Aston Martin had a problem with its front bonnet, and lost first place only 10 minutes from the end. Finally, the win went to the fourth leader, the Pescarolo-Judd entered by Sora Competition. None of the company’s top brass was there to see it! Drivers Christophe Tinseau and Shinji Nakano, plus a technical squad made up of French and Japanese personnel bagged the win much to the delight of team principal, Claude Gallopin.

The first-ever Asian Le Mans Series race got under way at 12h30 in blazing sunshine in front of a large crowd. Pole setter Johnny Cocker in his Lola-Judd coupe did not make any mistakes, shot into the lead and began to open up a gap helped by his soft tires. After 5 laps, he was already 4 seconds in front of Nicolas Lapierre in the Oreca-AIM who was followed by Mücke’s Lola-Aston Martin, Tinseau’s Pescarolo-Judd and the 2 Audi R10s in the hands of Albers and Jarvis. By lap 8, the leaders had already caught the back markers and the gaps closed. The first three were covered by under a second!

First upset on lap 21 when the Lola-Judd coupe that had led for the first 20 laps ran into a mechanical problem and pitted, as Race Control demanded that the defective lights be changed. This stop ruined the chances of the green car, which rejoined well behind the new leaders. Now in front was Lapierre with Mücke breathing down his neck closely followed by Christophe Tinseau. The race was developing into a real thriller with 3 seconds covering the leading trio followed by Albers and Jarvis in their Audis just in front of the LM P2 leader, Lahaye’s Pescarolo-Mazda.
In LM GT1, Tsuchiya in his Aston Martin DBR9, who had started from the back of the grid, was now in first place ahead of the Saleen in the hands of Bervillé and Yogo’s Lamborghini. In LM GT2, Marc Lieb’s Porsche and Dirk Muller in the BMW M3 were at it hammer and tongs for the lead and rubbed flanks on lap 32!

As the opening salvo of refuelling stops began (lap 40), Harold Primat rejoined in the lead after taking over the Lola-Aston from Mücke. He was just in front of the first leader, Lapierre, who remained at the wheel of the Oreca-AIM and Shinji Nakano in the Pescarolo who fell back a little. Lapierre closed the gap to Primat, but at half distance the Lola-Aston in Gulf colors was still in front – just ! The Oreca-AIM seemed to be playing a waiting game. Behind the battle for the overall lead, another one was going on that was just as intense. Dirk Muller had taken first place in the LM GT2 category, which Tom Milner, who relayed him, promptly lost to Henzler who was now in the blue Felbermayr Porsche. The leading Lola-Aston Martin opened the second round of refuelling stops with 63 minutes to go to the finish. Stefan Mücke rejoined a lap down on the Oreca and the Pescarolo. When they stopped in turn, the British car retook the lead. The Pescarolo went back out in second spot ahead of the Oreca, which had lost first then second places during its two stops.

Second major upset on lap 116 (11 minutes to go to the finish). The Lola-Aston Martin, which had opened up a slight gap, came in for a splash & dash. It suddenly pitted again to have the right-hand front louvers replaced losing third place in the process. The Pescarolo then went into the lead under 3 seconds in front of the Oreca., and at the flag the 2 French cars were separated by just over 6 seconds. There were a number of twists in the other categories as well. In LM GT1, Carlo van Dame stuck the Larbre Competition Saleen in a gravel trap handing victory to the JLOC Lamborghini driven by Yogo-Iiri. In LM GT2, the Rahal-Letterman Racing BMW emerged victorious in its no-holds-barred battle with the Felbermayr-Proton Porsche. In LM P2, the Oak Racing Pescarolo-Mazda scored an unchallenged victory leading from start to finish.



No Name Nat Cls Car Laps Gap Diff Best Lap
1 17 TINSEAU FRA 1 Pescarolo Judd 126 1:22.404
2 10 DUVAL FRA 1 Oreca AIM 126 6.930 6.930 1:22.423
3 15 BAKKERUD DEN 1 Audi R10 125 1 Lap 1:07.921 1:22.925
4 007 MUCKE SUI 1 Lola Aston Martin 124 2 Laps 25.790 1:22.465
5 14 NODA JPN 1 Audi R10 122 4 Laps 22.674 1:23.472
6 87 DRAYSON GBR 1 Lola Coupe Judd 121 5 Laps 17.701 1:21.735
7 24 NICOLET FRA 2 Pescarolo Mazda 116 10 Laps 1:27.074
8 28 IBANEZ FRA 2 Courage AER 116 10 Laps 22.432 1:29.159
9 11 WAKISAKA JPN 1 Courage Oreca-YGK 115 11 Laps 4.066 1:26.939
10 69 YOGO JPN 3 Lamborghini 113 13 Laps 1:32.483
11 77 LIEB GER 4 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997) 113 13 Laps 0.292 1:32.772
12 61 TSUCHIYA JPN 3 Aston Martin DBR9 113 13 Laps 14.622 1:31.430
13 89 SIMONSEN DEN 4 Ferrari F 430 GT 113 13 Laps 59.858 1:32.977
14 88 HOLZER GER 4 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997) 112 14 Laps 40.582 1:32.953
15 85 HIRANAKA JPN 4 Ferrari F 430 GT 112 14 Laps 1.750 1:34.114
16 71 FUJII JPN 4 Ferrari F 430 GT 111 15 Laps 3.763 1:34.326
17 98 KINOSHITA JPN 4 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (997) 109 17 Laps 1:34.573
18 40 DROBERTSON USA 4 Ford GT Mk7 108 18 Laps 2.335 1:33.926
19 50 LEMERET BEL 3 Saleen S7R 81 45 Laps 1:31.110
20 91 MA CHN 4 Aston Martin Vantage 81 45 Laps 9:38.609 1:33.882
21 92 MULLER GER 4 BMW E92 M3 47 79 Laps 0.396 1:33.246
22 68 YAMANISHI JPN 3 Lamborghini 37 89 Laps 29.142 1:33.161
23 81 HORI JPN 4 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (996) 3 123 Laps 16.951 1:41.985

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