Beche and Thiriet win at Spielberg ELMS

Beche and Thiriet win at Spielberg ELMS


Beche and Thiriet win at Spielberg ELMS


The Thiriet by TDS Racing team took its second consecutive European Le Mans Series victory at Spielberg.

Pierre Thiriet and Mathias Beche kept their noses clean throughout the three-hour race, which enabled them to capitalize on the misfortunes of the faster cars in the LMP2 field.

While Beche struggled in the opening stint, McLaren test driver Oliver Turvey charged away at the front in the Jota Sport Zytek-Nissan. Turvey had his lead up to 19 seconds when he was handed a 30-second stop-go penalty for speeding in the pitlane with 70 minutes of the three-hour race complete, and it was when the Briton served his penalty that the No. 1 Thiriet ORECA-Nissan took the lead.

By that point the other likely victory contender was out of the picture, as the Murphy Prototypes entry was forced into a long stoppage when its starter motor failed at its first pitstop.

Beche, who had slipped to fifth early on, jumped ahead of the Race Performance ORECA-Judd and Morand Racing Morgan-Judd in the pit stops, and from then on he and Thiriet were relatively unthreatened out front.

The Jota car dropped further back when Simon Dolan had an off shortly after taking over from Turvey, and that left Nelson Panciatici in the Signatech Alpine entry chasing the leader.

The Frenchman, who set pole position but had his time taken away for a yellow flag infringement, closed to within 22 seconds of Thiriet before the final stops, but by the time the pit stops had shuffled out the gap was more than 40 seconds.

The podium was completed by Morand duo of Franck Mailleux and Natacha Gachnang, while Dolan recovered to fourth at the expense of Michel Frey in the final stint.

Paul-Loup Chatin and Gary Hirsch took victory in the LMPC class, with Hirsch holding off a charging Nicolas Verdonck in the final laps for the win.

In the GTE class, Matt Griffin and Johnny Mowlem were dominant for the Ram Racing Ferrari squad. Griffin moved into the lead early on after sitting behind Joel Camathias and the second Ram car of Gunnar Jeannette early on, but once he was out front in class he was untouchable.

Ram appeared to be on for a one-two in the middle of the race, but the JMW Motorsport Ferrari split the cars again when Andrea Bertolini took over from Camathias.