Lola had a strong start to the 2010 European sports car season with a 2nd and 3rd placed finish in LMP1 at Paul Ricard over the weekend. A 3rd place in LMP2 by the RML squad cemented a generally positive weekend for Lola runners in the South of France for the 8-hour endurance race.

Aston Martin Racing and Rebellion Racing both took their Lola designed and built Le Mans Prototype sports cars to podium positions during a tough event that finished in wet conditions.

Stefan Mucke/Harold Primat and Adrian Fernandez put an early puncture behind them to take the runners-up position as they strive to retain the title they won in 2009. The Aston Martin powered Lola led for a short while in the early running after brief contact between eventual winners Audi and the ORECA run Peugeot.

“This is a really good car and we’re working hard to make it the best we can but there is still a gap to the diesels,” said Adrian Fernandez. “I’m here for three years so hopefully I can see that big trophy one day in Le Mans.”

The #13 Rebellion Racing Lola of Jean Christophe Boullion/Guy Smith and Andrea Belicchi took 3rd place after a trouble free run to the chequered flag in the 2010 spec Lola. The sister car of Nicolas Prost and Neel Jani finished despite losing time early on due to repairs to the left rear suspension after contact with a GT2 entry. In what was an impressive recovery drive the gold and red Lola came through the field to eventually finish in 7th position in the LMP1 class.

Third placed points at Paul Ricard for AMR and Rebellion bodes well for the Le Mans Series Championship attack because the longer race this weekend counts for double points. With Audi and Peugeot not entered for the full season, both Lola entries could be in prime position for title spoils come the end of the season.

“We have changed the name but it’s the same people in the team,” said Andrea Belicchi. “I’m part of the team from three years ago and I can say that we have improved year by year. I think the Lola is a very nice car indeed.”

Signature Plus took the chequered flag in 6th position with Pierre Ragues/Franck Mailleux and Vanina Ickx showing well in the teams first outing with the ex AMR Lola-Aston Martin. Despite several long pit stops and a spectacular spin by Ickx, the team were pleased to get points in the first race of the season.

In LMP2, RML scored another podium position with the red,white and blue liveried Lola-HPD. The trio of Tommy Erdos/Andy Wallace and Mike Newton led the class at times and ran as high as 7th overall but finally took 3rd place in what was a great return to form for the Wellingborough based team.

Racing Box returned to the LMS fray with both of their Judd powered Lola LMP2 entries. Brothers Andrea and Giacomo Piccini joined team owner Ferdinando Geri and enjoyed a trouble free race to score points with 6th place in LMP2. The #30 car of Marco Cioci, Luca Pirri and Piergiuseppe Perazzini started the race well but hit trouble mid-race with electrical problems and were forced to retire.

Kruse-Schiller Motorsport were back for their first race since Le Mans last June. Now with Judd power, the open cockpit Lola overcame gearbox issues in the early running to claim a classified finish and useful points for Jean De Pourtales/Hideki Noda and promising British racer Jonathan Kennard in 7th place.

The next round of the 2010 Le Mans Series takes place at the spectacular Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium over the weekend of 8/9th May.

Race Result
Pos / Driver / Class / Team / Car / Laps
1. Capello/McNish P1 Audi 266
2. Fernandez/Primat/Mucke P1 Lola-Aston Martin 261
3. Belicchi/Boullion/Smith P1 Rebellion Lola 261
4. Panis/Lapierre/Sarrazin P1 ORECA Peugeot 258
5. Ayari/Andre/Duval P1 ORECA 258
6. Ragues/Mailleux/Ickx P1 Signature Lola-Aston Martin 256
7. Leventis/Watts/Kane P2 Strakka HPD 250
8. Hein/Moreau P2 Oak Pescarolo 250
9. Erdos/Newton/Wallace P2 RML Lola 249
10. Lahaye/Nicolet P2 Oak Pescarolo 249
11. Prost/Jani P1 Rebellion Lola 248
12. Ojjeh/Greaves/Ebbesvik P2 Bruich. Ginetta 248
13. Geri/Piccini/Piccini P2 Racing Box Lola 246
14. Mansell/Mansell/Mansell P1 Beechdean Ginetta 243
15. Toulemonde/Zollinger/Zampatti LC Formula Le Mans 237
16. Beche/Pillon/Capillaire LC Formula Le Mans 237
17. Barlesi/Cicognani/Chalandon LC Formula Le Mans 235
18. Lieb/Lietz GT2 Felbermayr Porsche 233
19. Zacchia/Moro/Kaufmann LC Formula Le Mans 231
20. Ragginger/Ried/Long GT2 Felbermayr Porsche 231
21. Fisichella/Vilander/Alesi GT2 AF Corse Ferrari 231
22. Ehret/Quaife/Kaffer GT2 CRS Ferrari 231
23. Companc/Russo GT2 AF Corse Ferrari 231
24. Gardel/Goueslard/Canal GT1 Larbre Saleen 229
25. Muller/Werner GT2 BMW 225
26. Schell/Metz/da Rocha P2 Pegasus Courage 219
27. Narac/Pilet GT2 IMSA Porsche 219
28. Dumbreck/Coronel/Bleekemolen GT2 Spyker 215
29. Pourtales/Noda/Kennard P2 KSM Lola 188

Not classified
39. Farnbacher/Simonsen GT2 Farnbacher Ferrari 204
21. Stirling/Hines/Piscopo LC Formula Le Mans 203
41. Kutemann/Basso/Hartshorne LC Formula Le Mans 203
12. Amaral/Pla/Hughes P2 Quifel Ginetta 200
22. Kraihamer/de Crem/Delhez LC Formula Le Mans 195
17. Salini/Salini/Gommendy P2 WR-Zytek 168
33. Bruni/Melo GT2 AF Cornse Ferrari 152
30. Kirkaldy/Mullen GT2 CRS Ferrari 123
16. Cioci/Perazzini/Pirri P2 Racing Box Lola 116
19. Frey/Meichtry/Dueck P2 Race Perf. Radical 66
34. Bell/Turner GT2 JMW Aston Martin 65
35. Holzer/Westbrook GT2 Prospeed Porsche 54

All pictures Lola Heritage

2nd overall for the 009 Lola Aston Martin at Paul Ricard.

The #13 Rebellion Lola of Guy Smith, Andrea Belicchi and J.C. Boullion.

RML Lola-HPD of Tommy Erdos, Andy Wallace and Mike Newton.

Race start and the Lola-Aston Martin leads the Audi R15.

#29 Racing Box finished 6th in LMP2 with the Piccini's and Geri.

Signature Plus Lola LMP1.

Jonathan Kennard in the KSM Lola-Judd.

KSM Lola-Judd at Paul Ricard on Friday afternoon.

Lola's Adam Airey briefs Neel Jani and Nico Prost at Paul Ricard.

RML Lola-HPD at Paul Ricard.

Racing Box Lola-Judd at Paul Ricard.