United charge is too late for title
ELMS ALGARVE (P) OCTOBER 28 ROUND 6/6
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