United charge is too late for ti­tle



United Au­tosports pair Fil­ipe Al­bu­querque and Phil Han­son took their sec­ond win in a row in the Euro­pean Le Mans

Series sea­son fi­nale at the Al­garve Cir­cuit – it’s just a shame that it came too late to spice up the race for the ti­tle, which had al­ready been won by G-drive crew An­drea Pizzi­tola and Ro­man Rusi­nov.

From sec­ond on the grid, Ti­mothe Buret took a brief lead from the off in the Pa­nis Barthez Com­pe­ti­tion Ligier, but it was pole­sit­ter Pierre Ragues in the Duqueine En­gi­neer­ing ORECA who hit back to take con­trol. The car’s time in first place was short­lived, though, since bro­ken sus­pen­sion forced it to re­tire.

That paved the way for a fly­ing Felipe Nasr. He’d made sig­nif­i­cant progress in the Ceti­lar Vil­lorba Corse Dal­lara, hav­ing started ninth, and found him­self top of the leader­board. But first place proved un­lucky again; the car was pe­nalised for an un­safe, last-sec­ond dive into the pits.

Nasr’s mis­for­tune pro­moted the two United Au­tosports Ligiers into sec­ond and third, with the Al­bu­querque/han­son car ahead of Will Owen/ Wayne Boyd/hugo de

Sadeleer. Af­ter find­ing their way past the Pa­nis Barthez Ligier – now in the hands of Julien Canal – they ran one-two un­til the G-drive ORECA ap­peared in their mir­rors. That car – in which Jean-eric Vergne joined Pizzi­tola and Rusi­nov – had qual­i­fied fifth and dropped back af­ter an early spin for Rusi­nov but was now in with a sniff of vic­tory.

Af­ter a full-course yel­low for the spin­ning Pro­ton Com­pe­ti­tion Porsche 911 RSR of Gian­luca Roda, Vergne made a blind­ing restart to move into sec­ond. But such was his haste that Vergne breached track lim­its while pass­ing Al­bu­querque and was slapped with a 10-sec­ond penalty.

Al­bu­querque got back in front and wrapped up the spoils by just 0.520s over Will Stevens in the Pa­nis Barthez Com­pe­ti­tion car. Vergne was third on the road, but his penalty dropped him to fourth be­hind the sec­ond United Au­tosports en­try.

The In­ter Europol Com­pe­ti­tion Ligier of Martin Hippe/jakub Smiechowski took its maiden LMP3 win, as RLR Ms­port’s Job van Uitert/john Farano/rob Garo­fall fin­ished fifth to clinch the class ti­tle.

Marvin Dienst/den­nis Olsen/chris­tian Ried came out on top in GTE in their Pro­ton Com­pe­ti­tion Porsche, but it was Gian­luca and Gior­gio Roda who made his­tory as the first fa­ther-son pair­ing to win an ELMS cham­pi­onship.

Al­bu­querque (left) and Han­son cel­e­brate back-to-back wins

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