Pescarolo makes victorious return
Date published : 03 Apr 2011 - 17:25:22
Sportscar legend Henri Pescarolo's team made a triumphant return to racing after a season away with victory in the opening round of the Le Mans Series at Paul Ricard.Pescarolo Team's eponymous Judd-powered LMP1, driven by Christophe Tinseau, Julien Jousse and Emmanuel Collard, came from the back of the grid (where it had been demoted after post-qualifying scrutineering) to first place in fewer than 20 laps and maintained its position at the top of the leaderboard for the remainder of the six-hour race.Collard, who was celebrating his 40th birthday on race day, crossed the line one lap clear of the Rebellion Racing Lola-Toyota shared by Jean-Christophe Boullion and Andrea Belicchi.Collard said: "This is a great result after one year without racing."The Pescarolo had a trouble-free run on a day when its rivals in the poorly-supported LMP1 class all ran into problems.Boullion spun the Rebellion car early in the race when one of the coupe's doors came open at the penultimate corner. A damaged hinge resulted in vital seconds being lost at its next two pitstops, dropping the car off the lead lap by the end of the second hour.The second Rebellion entry, which pole-winner Neel Jani shared with Nicolas Prost, lost 10 laps early on with a paddle-shift problem. The ASM Zytek lost a similar amount of time after Olivier Pla sustained a puncture, which resulted in rear bodywork damage.Aston Martin Racing used the race as a test for its new AMR-One. The car driven by Darren Turner, Stefan Mucke and Harold Primat made a number of long stops, but returned to the track for the final half hour to take the chequered flag despite covering only half the number of laps of the winning car.Third place went to the best of the LMP2 runners, the Greaves Motorsport Zytek driven by Tom Kimber-Smith, Karim Ojjeh and Gary Chalandon. Second in class was claimed by the AF Corse-run Pecom Racing Lola-Judd driven by Pierre Kaffer, Matias Russo and Luis Perez Companc.The JMW Motorsport squad claimed GTE class honours on its first outing back in the Ferrari fold. Rob Bell and James Walker triumphed in the team's new 458 Italia ahead of the similar AF Corse car shared by Gianmaria Bruni and Giancarolo Fisichella.The four factory-supported 911 GT3-RSRs run by the Felbermayr-Proton, ProSpeed and Imsa teams were all damaged in a start-line accident. This resulted from the green lights being shown on the startline gantry when the decision for the course car to undertake another parade lap had already been taken, causing confusion as some drivers accelerated while others waited behind the course car.