LOLA sports cars hit the ground running with three podium positions at the Le Mans series season-opener at Paul Ricard in France. Drivers had to battle changing conditions during a tough eight-hour race that ended in wet conditions, with Lola-built runners taking second and third in the elite LMP1 class and third place in LMP2. The podium finishes were especially important as the longer race at Paul Ricard counts for double points. With Lola's competition, Audi and Peugeot, not entered for the full season, a strong showing at the opener bodes well for Lola's title hopes. LMP1 champions Stefan Mucke, Harold Primat and Adrian Fernandez got their defence off to a solid start for Aston Martin Racing with a second place in the Lola-built coupe. After dealing with an early puncture, they led the race briefly while the eventual winners Audi recovered from contact with another car. Fernandez said the performance of the car had given the team encouragement for the season.