Rain forces early finish

Alex Kapadia in action during the European Le Mans Series 4-Hours of Imola last weekend
Alex Kapadia in action during the European Le Mans Series 4-Hours of Imola last weekend

Heavy rain forced organisers of last weekend’s 4-Hours of Imola, the second round of the 2016 European Le Mans Series (ELMS), to cut short competition in Italy.

Torrential rain fell halfway through the race, and with the track suffering from standing water, ELMS officials deployed Safety Car which prevented racing action continuing during the final hour of the event.

The Brackley-based Murphy Prototypes team saw their LMP2 Oreca 03-Nissan, driven by Sean Doyle, Garry Findlay and Patrick McClughan cross the finish line 10th, while the team’s Ligier LMP3 car reached the chequered flag 31st overall, 12th in the LMP3 class.

At the end, Alex Kapadia, who was racing the Ligier for Murphy Prototypes alongside Rob Garofall and Barrie Baxter, said: “After about 15 minutes of being in the car and getting into my stride, the rain began to fall.

“I was looking forward to doing a good job for the team. but the Safety Car prevented me from being able to do much. I think we all did a great job though, as this was the first race with this Ligier car. It was great to be reunited with the team and I hope to be back again soon!”

The race was won by the Thiriet by TDS Racing squad with their Oreca 05-Nissan.

The ELMS continues at the Red Bull Ring in Austria in July, but many of the teams are now preparing for the Le Mans 24-Hours.

Murphy Prototypes have their Oreca 03-Nissan entered for the famous race, with the car set to be driven by an international line-up made-up of American Ben Keating, Dutch racer Jeroen Bleekemolen and Belgian Marc Goossens.

Elsewhere, Silverstone’s Hitech GP and Brackley’s T-Sport were in action in France last weekend contesting the latest three rounds of the FIA F3 European Championship around the streets of Pau.

Ben Barnicoat and George Russell both scored victories for the David Hayle-owned team, securing their victories in the opening two races of the weekend.

Driving Dallara cars, Russell also took a fourth in the weekend opener and a third in his other outing, while Barnicoat bagged fifth in the second race.

The team’s third driver, Nikita Mazepin, returned with a best result of 13th.

Arjun Maini scored his first points of the 2016 season for T-Sport. The Indian, a protege of former F1 racer, Karun Chandhok, the youngster raced to ninth and tenth place finishes.

He said: “I am really pleased to have scored my first points of the season. I would like to thank the team for their hard work and I am looking forward to the next rounds of the championship.” The FIA F3 European Championship continues this weekend at Austria’s Red Bull Ring.