Portimao ELMS: United Autosports wins finale after red flag
Phil Hanson, Tom Gamble and Jonathan Aberdein won a tactical race for United Autosports in the European Le Mans Series season finale at Portimao.
With three out of four titles yet to be decided and invitations to the Le Mans 24 hours grid on the line, few were in doubt that the four hours of Portimao would prove critical to the teams contesting for the remaining honours and prizes.
After Cool Racing’s Charles Milesi converted his pole position into the lead and built a substantial gap over the chasing United Autosports, G-Drive Racing and Team WRT squads, the race was interrupted halfway through the first stint when Memo Rojas lost his left rear wheel while coming onto the main straight, and spun his Duqueine Engineering Oreca wildly across the track.
Andreas Laskaratos got caught up in the incident and, while trying to avoid Rojas and several other cars, hit the pitwall square on. This destroyed his Villorba Corse car and forced a red flag for an 30-minute track clear-up.
As the race progressed after the restart, United Autosports went off sequence with its pitstops, vaulting both British cars to first and second. Initially the G-Drive Racing Aurus squad was set to be its biggest rival until Franco Colapinto picked up a drive-through penalty for track limits infringements.
This left the Russian-flagged team out of contention for the win and brought Team WRT into the fight. The team, which had already won the ELMS title, followed a more conventional tyre strategy and led mid-race before falling back again as United’s strategy ensured Tom Gamble jumped Louis Deletraz during the stops.
Deletraz tried to hunt down Gamble but the gap opened up to almost 20 seconds with the British doing converting his tyre life to stretch out his stint to secure victory together with Jonathan Aberdein and Phil Hanson, United’s first ELMS win of the year.
Third would go to the Algarve Pro Racing car of Sophia Floersch (replacing Diego Menchaca for this weekend), Richard Bradley and Ferdinand Habsburg after fighting back from a puncture.
LMP2 Pro-Am honours went to the dominant Cool Racing team of Milesi, Lapierre and Coigny, but they couldn’t do enough to take the title away from G-Drive pair John Falb and Rui Andrade.
In LMP3, Team DKR’s Matthieu de Barbuat and Laurents Horr proved to be the class of the field but only after it fought off Rob Wheldon in the #2 United Autosports Ligier.
A drive-through penalty for the United team gave the championship contenders even more breathing room as they fought with Cool Racing for the ELMS title and the Le Mans entry that comes with it.
Cool’s race went from bad to worse as the team tried to fight back from a lowly grid position before a slow stop effectively ended the title-aspirations for the championship leaders.
As United Autosports dropped back, Inter Europol Competition moved into second with the Polish team showing great pace to keep the DKR Duqueine in sight. It was not enough however to unseat Horr and De Barbuat from the lead as the team sealed the title in with their fourth consecutive win.
Third went to United Autosports, finishing an uncharacteristic tough year without a race win.
Iron Lynx’s Rino Mastronardi, Miguel Molina and Matteo Cressoni dominated the final GTE Race of the season, seeing off a spirited start from the Proton Competition Porsche to not only win their third race of the season but seal the title as well.
Second would go to the #93 Proton Porsche of Felipe Laser, Michael Fassbender and Richard Lietz while Iron Lynx’s ‘Iron Dames’ Rahel Frey, Sarah Bovy and Michelle Gatting came in third.
ELMS - Portimao 4 Hours race results
|1||22|| Philip Hanson |
|2||41|| Robert Kubica |
|3||24|| Sophia Flörsch |
|4||65|| Julien Canal |
|5||26|| Roman Rusinov |
Nyck de Vries
|6||37|| Alexandre Coigny |
|7||28|| Paul Lafargue |
|Oreca 07||129||4:00'12.002||1 Lap|
|8||25|| John Falb |
|Aurus 01||129||4:00'14.037||1 Lap|
|9||35|| Francesco Dracone |
|Oreca 07||128||4:00'27.699||2 Laps|
|10||32|| Job Van Uitert |
|Oreca 07||128||4:00'47.043||2 Laps|
|11||29|| Matthieu Lahaye |
Jean Baptiste Lahaye
|Oreca 07||128||4:00'57.744||2 Laps|
|12||39|| Vincent Capillaire |
|Oreca 07||127||4:00'08.097||3 Laps|
|13||4|| Laurents Hörr |
|Duqueine M30 - D08||123||4:00'30.960||7 Laps|
|14||13|| Martin Hippe |
|Ligier JS P320||123||4:00'43.949||7 Laps|
|15||2|| Wayne Boyd |
|Ligier JS P320||123||4:01'13.035||7 Laps|
|16||9|| Matthias Kaiser |
|Ligier JS P320||123||4:01'23.171||7 Laps|
|17||42|| Fabien Michal |
|Ligier JS P320||122||4:01'03.678||8 Laps|
|18||8|| Eric Trouillet |
|Ligier JS P320||122||4:01'06.509||8 Laps|
|19||11|| Mattia Drudi |
|Ligier JS P320||122||4:01'16.295||8 Laps|
|20||14|| Mateusz Kaprzyk |
|Ligier JS P320||122||4:01'16.784||8 Laps|
|21||19|| Nicolas Maulini |
|Ligier JS P320||122||4:01'45.608||8 Laps|
|22||3|| Jim McGuire |
|Ligier JS P320||121||4:00'12.054||9 Laps|
|23||20|| Rob Hodes |
|Ligier JS P320||121||4:00'20.071||9 Laps|
|24||6|| Nick Adcock |
|Ligier JS P320||121||4:00'26.703||9 Laps|
|25||80|| Matteo Cressoni |
|Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||121||4:01'05.378||9 Laps|
|26||93|| Michael Fassbender |
Felipe Fernández Laser
|Porsche 911 RSR - 19||121||4:01'22.362||9 Laps|
|27||83|| Rahel Frey |
|Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||120||4:00'03.689||10 Laps|
|28||55|| Duncan Cameron |
|Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||120||4:00'05.441||10 Laps|
|29||77|| Christian Ried |
|Porsche 911 RSR - 19||120||4:00'10.761||10 Laps|
|30||66|| Rodrigo Sales |
|Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||120||4:00'35.318||10 Laps|
|31||95|| John Hartshorne |
|Aston Martin Vantage AMR||120||4:00'42.269||10 Laps|
|32||12|| Gary Hauser |
|Duqueine M30 - D08||120||4:00'43.453||10 Laps|
|33||60|| Claudio Schiavoni |
|Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||120||4:01'23.293||10 Laps|
|34||61|| Franck Dezoteux |
|Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||120||4:01'24.596||10 Laps|
|35||88|| François Perrodo |
|Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||120||4:01'27.604||10 Laps|
|36||7|| Tony Wells |
Colin Noble Jr.
|Ligier JS P320||109||4:00'51.377||21 Laps|
|15|| Mike Benham |
|Ligier JS P320||100||3:58'55.433||30 Laps|
|5|| Cresp Christophe |
|Ligier JS P320||98||3:18'29.217||32 Laps|
|30|| Tristan Gommendy |
|Oreca 07||17||27'28.772||113 Laps|
|18|| Bressan Alessandro |
|Ligier JS P320||15||25'31.195||115 Laps|
|View full results|
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