Imola LMGT3 victory goes to No.31 BMW of Team WRT
Photo: WEC

Imola LMGT3 victory goes to No.31 BMW of Team WRT

No.31 Team WRT BMW M4 of Augusto Farfus, Darren Leung and Sean Gelael celebrate a famous victory of judging conditions perfectly to take LMGT3 victory, the first class win for the Bavarian marque in WEC

They managed to beat the sister No.46 Team WRT car driven Maxime Martin, Valentino Rossi and Ahmed Al Harthy to make it a perfect day for the Belgian Team WRT squad that added an LMGT3 victory to its many LMP2 victories in previous seasons.

In an audacious strategy that involved staying on slick Goodyear tyres despite full wet conditions in the third sector of the Imola track, the No.31 car was able to assert its authority in the final two hours. Farfus wrested the lead from Maxime Martin in the penultimate hour after putting a well-judged move on the Belgian at the Variante Alta chicane.

Farfus then pulled out a gap before being able to relax a little when Martin was forced to serve a drive-through penalty for teammate Valentino Rossi earlier speeding under a virtual full course yellow period.

The experienced Brazilian utilised his Goodyears perfectly and won the category by a solid 22-seconds to ensure that both he and BMW took their first ever WEC win. Sean Gelael became a winner in two classes after previous LMP2 success, while Leung celebrated his debut win in only his second ever WEC start.

The podium was completed by the Manthey PureRxcing squad of Joel Sturm, Aliaksandr Malykhin and Klaus Bachler who all continue their strong start to the season.

The Qatar 1812kms winners led the race from pole position in the hands of Malykhin but they lost the lead when they decided to change to wet tyres when the rain arrived at the start of the fifth hour.

That bumped them down to third place but they still retain the championship points lead after scooping 16 points for third place and Malykhin’s Saturday pole position.

The No.55 VISTA AF Corse Ferrari 296 LMGT3 of Simon Mann, Francois Heriau and Alessio Rovera claimed their best result of the season with fourth place, after leading for a short period in Heriau’s hands in the second hour.

The top six was completed by the Heart of Racing Aston Martin of Ian James, Daniel Mancinelli and Alex Riberas in fifth and the No.59 United Autosports McLaren of Joshua Caygill, Marino Sato and Nicolas Pino McLaren.

Click HERE for final results