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6 Hours of Estoril
Greaves Motorsport ends “fantastic season” with second place finish in Portugal.

Greaves Motorsport continued its run of success with a podium finish in the final round of the 2011 Le Mans Series, that took place today at the Estoril track, just outside of the Portuguese capital of Lisbon.
Tom Kimber-Smith, Karim Ojjeh and Olivier Lombard, once again competed strongly for a win, but were frustrated by a few minor problems that slowed their Zytek Z11SN - Nissan leaving them with ‘only’ second place.
The team started from pole position, the point earned for that achievement confirmed that Greaves Motorsport would be LMP 2 Team’s Champions and that Tom Kimber-Smith and Karim Ojjeh would be the Driver’s Champions. The main objective for the race in Estoril, aside from scoring a victory, was to help Olivier Lombard achieve second place in the Drivers’ table, despite missing two of the rounds. That was achieved to round off a great season for the Peterborough based team.
Olivier Lombard started the race. “It was my first start to a major race so there was a bit of pressure on me. This increased when I was passed for the lead on the second corner but I kept my cool and my concentration, so I was able to regain the position, when the leader was held up in traffic. I then pulled away without problem, but I found it a very hard race physically but being in the lead made up for that.”
“My first season with Greaves Motorsport could not have gone any better, and for that I must thank the hard work of all the team. I hope it is the first chapter in a very long book…..”
Karim Ojjeh announced his retirement from top line prototype racing yesterday and had a mixed day with a few problems in his first stint.
“Early on in traffic I had lost the front deflector, then a louver, so had to make an extended pit stop to replace these. With a new set of tyres the car was transformed and my times were really good. I really enjoyed my time in the car, which was fantastic, a great way to finish the season for me. The best part was that Tom and I were able to help Olivier to grab second place in the driver’s championship, he really deserved that.”
The final chapter for Greaves Motorsport’s season was written by Tom Kimber-Smith who brought the car home to another great result. “It was a really weird feeling, winning the titles on a Saturday and then racing on a Sunday. I took over the car in 4th, a lap down, and just pushed hard to see if we could improve our finishing place. Aside from a minor electrical glitch, the car was really fast and I was able to post the fastest lap of 1:32.611. Late in the race, I was catching the leader and could smell his brakes on fire, bits of burning car were falling off in front of me, then he slowed and I got by.”
“Today we had the pace to win but just missed out. It has been a great season and I would just like to thank the team who have given us drivers such a reliable and fast car.”
Team Principal, Tim Greaves, gave the final verdict on the race.
“We had a few small problems that prevented us realising our full potential and we were naturally cautious looking to finish the season strongly. The team performed with their usual efficiency and it is down to them that we have achieved so much this year. We have been well supported by our partners and sponsors, in particular Nissan and Dunlop, who have made the victories possible. I really could not have asked for more from the 2011 season. Now the job is to build on this foundation for 2012.”

 

Greaves Motorsport  takes fantastic victory in 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours

In one of the most dramatic and competitive races ever seen on the classic French circuit, Greaves Motorsport scored a emphatic victory on the LM P2 Class with their Zytek Z11SN – Nissan, driven by Karim Ojjeh, Olivier Lombard and Tom Kimber-Smith. The trio completed 326 laps to finish at the head of their class and also an amazing 8th overall in the final results.

The victory was achieved in the classic way, by keeping the car out of the pits and on track. The ingredients of this success were three very quick and safe drivers, the best team to support their performances and of course an ultra competitive Zytek Z11SN - Nissan package.

Tom Kimber-Smith started the race at 3.00 pm on Saturday but an early pit stop to changes tyres put the car out of sync with their competitors. However the fast and steady pace of all three drivers, from previous class winner Tom Kimber-Smith, team stalwart Karim Ojjeh, to Le Mans debutant and youngest French driver in the race, Olivier Lombard, allowed the car to steadily climb up the leader board. Olivier was particularly impressive during his night time stint, even more so when considering his lack of experience both of Le Mans and of racing in the dark.

The car only suffered only one mechanical problem - a small screw in the paddle shift assembly coming loose; that gave some intermittent problems with the gear changes. It was fixed with a new steering wheel and the car climbed the leader board through the night to take the lead at around 2.00am Sunday.

It would not be “Le Mans” without at least one drama and for the team that happened to Tom Kimber-Smith. After a routine pit stop early Sunday Morning he spun the car at the Dunlop Bridge while on cold slick tyres on a wet track. The team enjoyed an eight lap lead at that stage, so after Tom was able to get out of the gravel, the crew checked everything over in the pits and the Zytek Z11SN - Nissan was soon back on track and in the lead of the LM P2 class. When the Chequered Flag fell at 3.00pm the car was over six laps in front of its closest competitor.

Team manager, Jacob Greaves reflected after the race on a famous victory.
“This was a victory built on team work. From the drivers, to the crew, our suppliers and partners such as Dunlop, Nissan and Zytek, everyone did their planned tasks to the maximum, there are hundreds of people involved in getting the job done, not forgetting the  support from our new best friends, the Moulin Rouge girls”

Team Principal Tim Greaves gave his views.
"The drivers did a fantastic job driving a fast, but disciplined race. The reliability and speed of the car reflects the professionalism and hard work of the crew. Add in the contribution of legendary Race Team Director Paul Thomas and also the multi tasking Team Manager, my son - who even gave up his job of changing tyres - it was a good job, well done by all."
 

 

Disappointment for Greaves Motorsport in Belgium during problematical Spa 1000 Kilometres.

After an incident filled race, Greaves Motorsport managed to bring the car home in 8th place in LM P2 class to score valuable points at today’s Spa 1000 Kilometres. There were quietly confident expectations for the Zytek Z11SN – Nissan driven by Karim Ojjeh, Gary Chalandon and Tom Kimber-Smith when the car lined up on the grid in 5th spot at the classic Belgian track.

These hopes were dented early during Tom’s opening stint. After a good start he was forced to make a pit stop to cure a tyre issue which put the car out of synch with the rest of the class. The team switched to a slightly harder compound Dunlop and this change allowed Tom to run at a fast pace and the balance of his stint was without incident.

The first routine pit stop saw him hand over the wheel to Karim Ojjeh. Karim settled into a good rhythm till an incident with car #33 saw both prototypes stranded in the gravel at Rivage. Karim was judged by the Stewards to be at fault and received a Stop and Go penalty. The net result of these incidents was that the Greaves Motorsport entry was over a full lap down on the class leaders before the half way point. Worse was to follow, as later in his stint Karim was forced to avoid another LM P2 car that was out of control but this reaction resulted in hitting the wall at La Source hairpin. The damage to the car was substantial but Karim managed to bring the Zytek Nissan back to the pits on three wheels, a distance of almost a whole lap.

As ever the Greaves Motorsport crew did a sterling job and managed to repair the damage and get the car back on track only 45 minutes later. Gary Chalandon took over driving duties but was soon back in the pits as the car had a vibration and it was thought a precautionary stop was in order. The diagnosis was a broken dive plane support but Tom Kimber-Smith was put into the car to reassure the team that all the problems resulting from the accidents had been sorted. The evidence to support this assertion was that Tom was fastest in class during his stint gaining back some of the time lost.

It remained for Gary to complete the six hour race with a double stint to take the car to the end. He drove the car safely to take the Chequered Flag at the conclusion of an eventful race.

The net result was 8th in class and a haul of 5 points to keep Greaves Motorsport in the top three in the points table.

Team Principal, Tim Greaves reflected afterwards, “It was a weekend of missed opportunities and what might have been, still that is Motorsport. The drivers and car showed class leading speed, and when the problems came the crew responded magnificently to get us back on the track. We hope that we have put any misfortune behind us and are all looking forward to the Big Race next month in France.”

amous Le Mans circuit.