Portimao ELMS: United Autosports ends season with win
The United Autosports Ligier of Filipe Albuquerque and Phil Hanson won for the second time in a row during the European Le Mans Series season finale at Portimao.
Front-row starter Timothe Buret, driving the #23 Panis-Barthez Competition Ligier, took a brief lead but it was pole-sitter Pierre Ragues in the #29 Duqueine Engineering Oreca who was in control early in the race.
Felipe Nasr in the #47 Cetilar Villorba Corse Dallara made significant progress. Having started ninth, the ex-Formula 1 driver was leading before being penalised for an unsafe, last-second dive into the pits.
The #29 Duqueine car retired with a broken suspension shortly after Ragues handed over the car to Nelson Panciatici.
In the meantime, two of the United Autosports Ligiers rose into contention, both cars finding their way past the Panis-Barthez Ligier (now in the hands of Julien Canal) to lead one-two.
The #26 G-Drive Racing title-winning Oreca spun early on in the hands of Roman Rusinov. Ever since, the car kept clawing its way up the order to have a sniff of a victory late in the race.
With little over an hour remaining, full course yellow bunched up the leaders, producing a four-way battle for the lead, involving both United Autosports cars, the #26 G-Drive Racing machine and the #23 Panis-Barthez car.
But the final round of pit stops turned out to be yet another game-changer.
Local ace Albuquerque took second win in row for the #22 machine to finish ahead of the Panis-Barthez car shared by Will Stevens, Canal and Buret, while the #32 United Autosports crew of Will Owen, Wayne Boyd and Hugo de Sadeleer completed an all-Ligier podium.
The #13 Inter Europol Competiton Ligier of Martin Hippe and Jakub Smiechowski took LMP3 honours, while the #77 Proton Competition Porsche shared by Christian Ried, Marvin Dienst and Dennis Olsen came out on top in GTE.
Report by Piotr Magdziarz
Results (top 10):
|1||22|| Filipe Albuquerque |
|2||23|| Will Stevens |
|3||32|| Wayne Boyd |
Hugo De Sadeleer
|4||26|| Jean-Eric Vergne |
|5||24|| Olivier Pla |
|6||28|| Paul-Loup Chatin |
|Oreca 07||1 lap|
|7||40|| James Allen |
|8||39|| Tristan Gommendy |
|9||49|| Anders Fjordbach |
|Dallara P217||2 laps|
|10||13|| Jakub Smiechowski |
|Ligier JS P3||8 laps|
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