ELMS 4H Imola

Motorsport UK Academy Team racer Jonny Edgar scored his debut win in the European Le Mans Series (ELMS) at a hot Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit.

Following an impressive maiden podium for Jonny at the previous round at the 4 Hours of Le Castellet, Cumbria’s finest and his AO Racing by TF Sport team came into the weekend with high expectations. The third round of the season began well with two collective test sessions on Thursday, which Jonny and his team enjoyed without issue.

The #14 Oreca continued to run well throughout Friday’s FP1 session and the final practice session on Saturday morning. Former Formula 1 Grand Prix winner, Robert Kubica was given the responsibility of qualifying the car for the team and secured a solid P7 starting position for the race.

Jonny was given the opportunity to take the start of the race and the D.Tolson and Sons sponsored athlete did not disappoint, immediately making up two positions. He then got his elbows out following a brief Full Course Yellow (FCY) and moved up into 4th place to begin hunting down a top three position.

Following a collision between two rival cars, Jonny was able to get by and put the team into a podium position. After a trouble-free pit stop in the closing stages of the first hour, Jonny quickly caught up to the LMP2 leaders, and as they negotiated traffic Jonny pulled off a great overtake on Manuel Maldonado, who had slipped back going into Rivazza (turns 17 and 18). Jonny’s impressive overtake would serve as his final major move of the race as he handed the car over to Robert Kubica. In his 1 hour and 28 minutes behind the wheel, Jonny’s efforts had moved the team up to second place and in contention for the 4 Hours of Imola win.

Kubica would go on to have a very solid stint, keeping out of trouble, and he handed the car over to Louis Deletraz, the reigning LMP2 FIA World Endurance champion, who continued to keep the AO Racing by TF Sport #14 Oreca in the fight for the overall win. Initially, following the last pit stops, Louis would bring the car home in 2nd place on the road, but the winning #65 Panis Racing was given a 35 second time penalty for speeding up too soon under a FCY and Jonny and his team inherited the win.

Jonny: “It’s a strange way to win a race but of course we will take it, it’s sometimes part of motorsport and it doesn’t change the performance that we all did as a team. The car felt fantastic all weekend and it’s been great to have a clean, drama free round. I enjoyed taking the start and working my way up through the field and having some real battles with the drivers around me and as always, Robert and Louis did a great job with their stints. I am really happy for our whole team with this result. It certainly puts us in the mix to fight for the title.”

The amended classification and the subsequent 25 points for the race win means that Jonny and his teammates now sit only two points behind the leaders in the LMP2 championship standings, and will be looking to take the championship lead next time out at Spa-Francorchamps on the 25 August. The fourth round of the ELMS will be broadcast live on the championship’s YouTube channel.