The FINANCIAL — Sunday, July 3rd Imola Circuit (Italia) — Today's Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) round at Imola in Italy produced another 1-2 victory for Nissan when Greaves Motorsport repeated its Le Mans LMP2 win, closely followed in second place by the Signatech Nissan team.
This signals another top result for Nissan's first GT Academy graduate, Lucas Ordonez. The result also means that Signatech Nissan's lead in the ILMC Championship has grown and Greaves has now taken the lead in the Le Mans Series championship.
The qualifying session on Saturday again showed the strength of Nissan in LMP2 with Nissan-powered cars taking pole position, second, fourth and fifth on the grid for the six-hour race.
As expected the race got away at a furious pace on Sunday afternoon with the TDS Racing car leading a Nissan-powered 1-2-3-5 in the LMP2 class. The order was soon reshuffled when the Boutsen Energy car which had been running in second place went off and dropped to eighth, then soon after had a further 'off' at Rivazza, dropping it to 12th.
By the one hour mark, the TDS car was still leading but the Judd-Powered Oak Racing car had sneaked into second place with the Signatech Nissan of Soheil Ayari and the Greaves Motorsport car of Tom Kimber-Smith hot on its heels.
As the Boutsen Energy car continued its recovery drive, TDS Racing held a strong lead before developing problems a few hours into the race. Just after the halfway mark it was TDS, then Signatech, then Greaves but this was soon to change. When the TDS car faltered the Level 5 Lola took the lead, while both Greaves and Signatech continued to play the long game, putting in lap after consistent lap.
In the closing stages of the race it was the turn of the Level 5 car to falter and Greaves sailed into the lead with Signatech Nissan close behind, repeating their finishing position at Le Mans and taking a consecutive 1-2 victory for Nissan power.
Winners of three races so far this year, Greaves Motorsport understand how to claim victory in endurance racing, as Tom Kimber-Smith explains: "The secret is to have the most reliable car, not the fastest car," he said. "Le Mans was amazing but this is a great result for the whole team. Just a few days ago the car was stripped right back to the tub and it has taken a fantastic effort to get it here.
"The result is down to pure reliability and consistency and I must say that Olivier's (Lombard) stint in the middle of the race really put us in contention here. We are in a good position for the championship and really couldn't have asked for a better weekend," he added.
Signatech Nissan driver and GT Academy winner, Lucas Ordonez, also understands the importance of keeping it on the road in endurance racing: "It feels good to take a podium finish here," he said.
"I wasn't totally happy with my rhythm during my run but the car felt good and when I came in I was surprised to see that my times were actually okay. Our car wasn't the fastest today but consistency is the key, as Greaves has shown yet again. I'm looking forward to the next round at Silverstone now and I hope we will be able to take the top step for the first time."