Aug 02

Ginetta-Zytek leads all the way

In Portugal Quifel-ASM GZ09S reigns supreme in LMP2 class

The Ginetta-Zytek entered by local team Quifel-ASM totally dominated the LMP2 class of the 1,000km do Algarve, which finished in the early hours of this morning.

The 3.4-litre GZ09S driven by Olivier Pla and Miguel Amaral led the class virtually from start to finish and set fastest lap, having already been the quickest in qualifying and in three practice sessions. Rarely can there have been such a display of supremacy in endurance racing.

Olivier Pla from Toulouse immediately set his stamp on the race, the third round of the Le Mans Series, as he had done at Spa-Francorchamps.

In Belgium the 27-year old had been forced off the track by another car. This time there were no such dramas and he was able to hand over a massive lead to teammate, 55-year Miguel Amaral from Lisbon, who had celebrated his birthday on Friday.

On the 158th lap the young Frenchman, back in the car, set the fastest LMP2 lap of the race with an average speed of 175.74Km/h. As the contest drew to a close, so the pair was able to ease up but still win by over two laps. Overall, the Lisbon-based team finished a magnificent sixth.

Underlining the fact that the Repton-built cars were the class of the LMP2 category, the GAC Racing Team Zytek 07S finished a close third in class after a battle for second that swung back and forth throughout the near six-hour race. It was the first ever podium placing for the tenacious little Franco-Swiss team. The GAC pairing of Philipp Peter and Karim Ojjeh also finished eighth overall.

Danny Watts in the Strakka Racing 4.5-litre Ginetta-Zytek GZ09S LMP1 challenged for overall honours in the early stages of the race. In the second hour he was up to second place, a mere 13 seconds behind the leader.  However, at this point trouble intervened and the car, which had been easily the fastest during three practice sessions, was forced into an early retirement.

The 1,000km do Algarve, which was held mainly in the hours of darkness, has shown the Ginetta-Zytek GZ09S to be a true front-runner amongst Le Mans-style prototypes. As such, it is now a favourite for honours in both classes for the 1,000km du Nürburgring, fourth round of the Le Mans Series, which takes place on Sunday, August 23.
source: Ian Wagstaff