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6 Hours of Estoril
Greaves Motorsport ends “fantastic season” with second
place finish in Portugal.
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
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
Motorsport takes fantastic victory in 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours
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
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
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
“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.
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
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.