The first hour of the LMP3 race was a riveting one with Charlie Robertson leading Gaetan Paletou in the early running. Paletou took over the lead after 15 minutes when Robertson lost out in traffic. After that the two traded similar lap times and circulated nose to tail until the first scheduled stops.
Paletou emerged with a slightly increased lead and by the end of the second stint looked to be breaking free. Sadly, the Nissan GT Academy graduates excellent weekend came to a sudden end when an apparent technical problem caused him to spin the Ginetta-Nissan, the car stopping short of the barrier but unable to rejoin the race.
That left Robertson in a commanding (and rapidly increasing) lead that the #3 Ginetta Nissan would never lose, Robertson lapping consistently quickly and Chris Hoy impressing with his most consistent drive to date, retaining enough of a lead over a double stint to allow Team LNT to pit the car for an additional 2:30 mandatory spot and still retain the lead with Robertson taking the flag 2 minutes ahead of the second placed #5 Villorba Corse Ginetta, the SVK by Speed factory car completing the podium but finishing a full lap down.
The newly upgraded Ginettas were able to make their way through the GTEs with less trouble than ever before, the mandatory timed (2 minutes 30 seconds) pitstops though put the leading car back into the GTE pack, a situation which both LMP3 and GTE teams are finding increasingly iritating
With three wins out of the first four races, and with their closest rivals posting a dnf that leaves the #3 Team LNT crew in an unassailable lead in the Championship still with the race at Estoril next month to come.
Two drivers entirely inexperienced in prototype endurance racing then take the title.
Sir Chris Hoy, Driver #3 Team LNT Ginetta Nissan LMP3: “I’m delighted to win the race and overwhelmed to find ourselves Champions in our first year at this level.
“Being part of this team has been just amazing, everyone works so hard to get the finest details right and the results show that the effort is worthwhile.
“Ginetta have built an amazing car that got me feeling comfortable immediately and has just got better throughout the season. As a racing experience I can’t speak highly enough about it.”
Charlie Robertson, Driver #3 Team LNT Ginetta Nissan LMP3: “I can’t really believe it. When I was told what the effort would be this year of course I felt good about it, a factory team with a guy as experienced in sport as Chris and with a brand new car.
“The results this season though have just been great. The car was faultless again this time out, the pitstops went like clockwork and now the pressure just seems to be flowing off my shoulders.
“Now we can go to the final race of the season next month (at Estoril, Portugal on 18 October) and hopefully finish the season with another good result, that’s what everyone who has worked so hard to make this happen deserves.”