|The field's eye view of the Thiriet by
TDS Oreca. ©Nissan UK.
Hour three was marked by the story of the silver ranked drivers. Nicolet and Enjalbert were at the wheel of both Morgans and both Morgans were making mistakes. The advantage that Bertrand Baguette had build in the lead of the race was being slowly eroded by the march forward of Simon Dolan in the Jota Zytek as the hour wore on.
The effort Enjalbert was having to put, just to keep lapped cars behind was provoking minor errors, wobbles on exits and slowing the car down. Jaques Nicolet on the other hand decided that having mistakes little and often was not the way to go, so lost it completely at the bottom of the Craner Curves, going 360° before recovering the race track.
Otherwise hour three went very slowly, unless you were a driver.
Hour four however was not to be the same. Just seconds into the fourth hour, Simon Dolan lost control of the #38 Jota Zytek Z11SN-Nissan. A monumental shunt into the tyres demolished the back of the car when he went off at Old Hairpin. That caused the safety car to come out, neutralising the field and giving the lead to Lucas Ordonez thanks to a well timed pit stop.
Simon appeared to be ok, though looked rather unhappy with himself, the car however was an obvious abandoné.
The field was scrambled by the pit stops under the safety car, though Lucas Ordonez held the lead as the cars took to racing once more. The restart was hampered by the #19 and #60 cars behind the safety car and when the first racing lap finished, it was Thiriet who took the lead. That was thanks to an off at the final corner for Lucas Ordonez, with no damage except the drivers ego. Enjalbert and Hughes both made it through too giving as an all new top three.
It was the #46 Thiriet by TDS Oreca-Nissan leading from the #35 OAK Morgan-Nissan and the #18 Murphy Prototypes Oreca-Nissan in third. Meanwhile, clouds were building at the back of the paddock.
The Jota team tweeted, forty minutes after the crash, that they would not be able to repatriate the car to the garage and would have to retire. They did vow to be back.
For most of the rest of the hour its was business as usual. Heading towards the top of the hour, there was a little excitement as Hartshorne lost the back end of the #40 Boutsen Ginion LMPC car. The result was a harmless spin, from the outside of the Melbourne Hairpin to the inside line. He found reverse, pointed the car in the right direction, and went on his way once more.
As the hour drew to a close it was the chance to bolt in some more Pro drivers. Olivier Pla replaced Demitri Enjalbert while Tom Kimber-Smith replaced Lucas Ordonez, setting us up for the battle to the flag. Kimber-Smith took a brief trip through the gravel at McLeans but managed to keep the car going. For Sebastien Loeb Racing though it was trade a pro for a pro. Nicolas Minassian handed over to his old Peugeot team mate, Stephane Sarrazin.
A tardy start cost Warren Hughes the chance to take the lead. Piere Thiriet held on to the top spot through the pit stops thanks to a 3+ second delay in the Murphy Prototypes pit stop. Other than that, the hour went not with a bang, but a whimper.
|1||46||Thiriet by TDS Racing||Beche/Thiriet||Oreca 03-Nissan||LMP2|
||18||Murphy Prototypes||Firth/Hughes/Hartley||Oreca 03-Nissan||LMP2|
||1||Greaves Motorsport||Ordonez/Kimber-Smith/Brundle||Zytek Z11SN-Nissan||LMP2|
||19||Sebastien Loeb Racing||Marroc/Minassian/Sarrazin||Oreca 03-Nissan||LMP2|
||10||Pecom Racing||Perez-Companc/Ayari/Kaffer||Oreca 03-Nissan||LMP2|
||66||JMW Motorsport||Cocker/Simonsen||Ferrari 458 Italia GTE||LM GTE PRO|
|9||67||IMSA Performance Matmut||Armindo/Narac/Pons||Porsche 911 RSR 997||LM GTE AM|
|12||60||AF Corse||Perazzini/Cioci/Griffin||Ferrari 458 Italia GTE||LM GTE AM|
||40||Boutsen Ginion Racing||Dagoneau/Battut/Hartshorne||Oreca 09 FLM-Chevrolet||LMPC|
||17||Status GP||Sims/J Jousse/M Jousse||Lola B12/80 Coupe-Judd||LMP2|
#17 Status Lola-Judd
|#38 Jota Zytek-Nissan|