D’Ansembourg wins first Masters Endurance Legends race at Jerez
Christophe d’Ansembourg held off a spirited Keith Frieser to win the first Masters Endurance Legends race at Jerez, the Canadian’s Zytek 09S trailing the Belgian’s Lola-Aston Martin DBR1-2 across the line by just over a second.
“I managed the whole race”, said d’Ansembourg. “The pros were really fast but I kept Marco behind for quite a long time, and after the pitstop I simply controlled it. This is a tricky track, you can so easily make a mistake here.”
“First I was watching Marco fight Christophe”, said Frieser. “And then I briefly got ahead of Christophe but he was faster than me. I pedalled as hard as I could!”
In the first half of the race, Marco Werner took the fight to d’Ansembourg but a longer stop to hand over to Nick Padmore meant that the Lola-Lotus B12/80 was 11 seconds down at the finish. It still consummately won the P2 class from Mike Furness in the Courage-Judd LC75 who finished sixth overall.
“All happy faces!” said Werner. “It was a very nice race, and a good fight at the beginning.”
“I really enjoyed it”, said Padmore. “I just need more laps in it – I love it!”
In fourth and fifth respectively, James Hagan’s ORECA-GM FLM09 won the P3-class battle with Ron Maydon’s Ligier-Nissan JSP3-15. Jason Wright took GT class honours in his Ferrari 458 GT3.
“I don’t know what happened to the car”, said a despondent Wright. “Yesterday on fresh tyres it just clicked, but today it was horrible. I was hoping to fight with Ron and Mike, but I guess the tyres went off.”
From the start, d’Ansembourg’s Lola-Aston Martin DBR1-2 stormed off into the lead, but Marco Werner in the Lola-Lotus B12/80 kept the Belgian honest lap after lap, following by less than a second as the first 15 minutes ticked away. Keith Frieser in the Zytek 09S wasn’t far behind either, as the Canadian stuck to Werner’s gearbox right until the pit window opened.
James Hagan in the ORECA-GM FLM09 was soon a lonely fourth, while Ron Maydon in the Ligier-Nissan JSP3-15 saw Mike Furness in the Courage-Judd LC75 come by after eight laps. The leading GT car of Jason Wright was fourth initially but the Ferrari 458 GT3 dropped behind the prototypes of Hagan, Maydon and Furness as the first part of the race progressed. Two laps in, Aaron Scott’s Aston Martin DBR9 was the race’s first casualty, the GT1 succumbing to brake failure.
D’Ansembourg and Frieser were the first to stop once the pit window had opened, leaving Werner out in front before the German came in to hand over to Nick Padmore. Hagan and Wright had stopped too, but Furness and Maydon decided to leave it late. This would have allowed Furness to actually lead the race momentarily but he was pipped to it by d’Ansembourg charging back into first position moments before the pair crossed the timing beam. Frieser, still only 1.2 seconds behind the Belgian, followed through almost immediately.
Maydon was third now, the Werner/Padmore having dropped down to fourth due to a longer mandatory stop for elite drivers but on lap 15, Padmore was back into third, trailing the leader by 13 seconds but lapping slightly faster than both d’Ansembourg and Frieser.
18 laps in, and Frieser wasn’t giving up, as the Canadian kept harrying the shrieking Lola-Aston in front, the two drivers likely relishing the fight immensely. Padmore was still catching but probably not at the rate that he would have liked, while Hagan now trailed the lead trio by a minute and a half. Maydon and Furness were fifth and sixth, with Wright still leading the GT category.
As the clock wound down, d’Ansembourg maintained his slender lead over Frieser to win by just over a second, with Padmore a further ten seconds down. Hagan finished a lapped fourth, ahead of Maydon and Furness, while Wright took GT class honours.
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