Portimao ELMS: United Autosports wins tactical battle 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.

Ligier LMP3 driver 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 1 Aim Villorba Corse car and forced a red flag for a 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 the championship-winning Team WRT crew into the fight. The team, who 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 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 driver conversing his tyre life to stretch out his stint to secure victory together with Aberdein and Hanson, United’s first ELMS win of the year.

Behind Deletraz, Robert Kubica and Yifei Ye, third went to the Algarve Pro Racing car of Sophia Florsch, Richard Bradley and Ferdinand Habsburg that had fought back from a puncture.

#37 Cool Racing Oreca 07 - Gibson: Alexandre Coigny, Nicolas Lapierre, Charles Milesi

#37 Cool Racing Oreca 07 - Gibson: Alexandre Coigny, Nicolas Lapierre, Charles Milesi

Photo by: ELMS

LMP2 Pro-Am went to the dominant Cool Racing team of Milesi, Nicolas Lapierre and Alexandre Coigny. The trio saw off championship leaders G-Drive Racing, but couldn’t do enough to take the title away from John Falb and Rui Andrade.

In LMP3, Team DKR’s Matthieu de Barbuat and Laurents Horr proved to be the class of the field after fending off the #2 United Autosports Ligier, but a penalty after the race for broken rear bodywork dropped it to fourth.

A drive-through penalty for the United drivers Wayne Boyd, Rob Wheldon and Edouard Cauhaupe gave championship contender Horr - who has previously been co-driven this season by Alain Berg and Andros Trophy ace Jean-Philippe Dayraut - even more breathing room in the fight with Cool Racing for the ELMS title and the Le Mans entry that comes with it.

The race went from bad to worse for Cool trio Niklas Krutten, Nicolas Maulini and Matt Bell as the team tried to fight back from a lowly grid position before a slow stop effectively ended the pre-event championship leaders' title-aspirations.

As United Autosports dropped back, Inter Europol Competition's Martin Hippe, Ugo De Wilde and Adam Eteki moved into second, with the Polish team showing great pace to keep the DKR Duqueine in sight. Horr and De Barbuat looked set to have secured the team's fourth consecutive win, until their penalty was enforced.

Second therefore 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 Competition 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

Cla # Driver Car Laps Time Gap
1 22 United Kingdom Philip Hanson
South Africa Jonathan Aberdein
United Kingdom Tom Gamble
Oreca 07 130 4:00'00.433  
2 41 Poland Robert Kubica
Switzerland Louis Deletraz
China Ye Yifei
Oreca 07 130 4:00'22.181 21.748
3 24 Germany Sophia Flörsch
Austria Ferdinand Habsburg
United Kingdom Richard Bradley
Oreca 07 130 4:00'23.111 22.678
4 65 France Julien Canal
United Kingdom Will Stevens
Australia James Allen
Oreca 07 130 4:00'37.047 36.614
5 26 Russian Federation Roman Rusinov
Argentina Franco Colapinto
Netherlands Nyck de Vries
Aurus 01 130 4:00'39.763 39.330
6 37 Switzerland Alexandre Coigny
France Nicolas Lapierre
France Charles Milesi
Oreca 07 130 4:01'21.507 1'21.074
7 28 France Paul Lafargue
France Paul-Loup Chatin
France Patrick Pilet
Oreca 07 129 4:00'12.002 1 Lap
8 25 United States John Falb
Portugal Rui Andrade
United States Gustavo Menezes
Aurus 01 129 4:00'14.037 1 Lap
9 35 Italy Francesco Dracone
Italy Sergio Campana
Germany Markus Pommer
Oreca 07 128 4:00'27.699 2 Laps
10 32 Netherlands Job Van Uitert
France Nico Jamin
Venezuela Manuel Maldonado
Oreca 07 128 4:00'47.043 2 Laps
11 29 France Matthieu Lahaye
France Jean Baptiste Lahaye
Italy Gianluca Giraudi
Oreca 07 128 4:00'57.744 2 Laps
12 39 France Vincent Capillaire
France Maxime Robin
France Arnold Robin
Oreca 07 127 4:00'08.097 3 Laps
13 4 Germany Laurents Hörr
Mathieu de
Duqueine M30 - D08 123 4:00'30.960 7 Laps
14 13 Germany Martin Hippe
Ugo De
Adam Eteki
Ligier JS P320 123 4:00'43.949 7 Laps
15 2 United Kingdom Wayne Boyd
Robert Wheldon
Edouard Cauhaupe
Ligier JS P320 123 4:01'13.035 7 Laps
16 9 Switzerland Matthias Kaiser
Finland Rory Penttinen
Ligier JS P320 123 4:01'23.171 7 Laps
17 42 France Fabien Michal
Switzerland Lucas Legeret
Ligier JS P320 122 4:01'03.678 8 Laps
18 8 France Eric Trouillet
Switzerland Sébastien Page
Switzerland David Droux
Ligier JS P320 122 4:01'06.509 8 Laps
19 11 Italy Mattia Drudi
Antoine Doquin
Finn Gehrsitz
Ligier JS P320 122 4:01'16.295 8 Laps
20 14 Poland Mateusz Kaprzyk
Nicolas Pino
Patryk Krupinski
Ligier JS P320 122 4:01'16.784 8 Laps
21 19 Nicolas Maulini
United Kingdom Matthew Bell
Germany Niklas Krütten
Ligier JS P320 122 4:01'45.608 8 Laps
22 3 United States Jim McGuire
Duncan Tappy
Andrew Bentley
Ligier JS P320 121 4:00'12.054 9 Laps
23 20 United States Rob Hodes
Switzerland Alex Fontana
Ligier JS P320 121 4:00'20.071 9 Laps
24 6 United Kingdom Nick Adcock
United States Austin McCusker
Netherlands Max Koebolt
Ligier JS P320 121 4:00'26.703 9 Laps
25 80 Italy Matteo Cressoni
Italy Rino Mastronardi
Spain Miguel Molina
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 121 4:01'05.378 9 Laps
26 93 Germany Michael Fassbender
Germany Felipe Fernández Laser
Austria Richard Lietz
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 121 4:01'22.362 9 Laps
27 83 Switzerland Rahel Frey
Belgium Sarah Bovy
Denmark Michelle Gatting
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 120 4:00'03.689 10 Laps
28 55 United Kingdom Duncan Cameron
Ireland Matthew Griffin
South Africa David Perel
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 120 4:00'05.441 10 Laps
29 77 Germany Christian Ried
United States Cooper MacNeil
Italy Gianmaria Bruni
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 120 4:00'10.761 10 Laps
30 66 United States Rodrigo Sales
United Kingdom Jody Fannin
Thong Wei
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 120 4:00'35.318 10 Laps
31 95 United Kingdom John Hartshorne
United Kingdom Ross Gunn
United Kingdom Ollie Hancock
Aston Martin Vantage AMR 120 4:00'42.269 10 Laps
32 12 Gary Hauser
Belgium Tom Cloet
Guilherme Oliveira
Duqueine M30 - D08 120 4:00'43.453 10 Laps
33 60 Italy Claudio Schiavoni
Italy Giorgio Sernagiotto
Italy Paolo Ruberti
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 120 4:01'23.293 10 Laps
34 61 Franck Dezoteux
France Pierre Ragues
France Côme Ledogar
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 120 4:01'24.596 10 Laps
35 88 France François Perrodo
France Emmanuel Collard
Italy Alessio Rovera
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 120 4:01'27.604 10 Laps
36 7 United Kingdom Tony Wells
United Kingdom Colin Noble Jr.
Ligier JS P320 109 4:00'51.377 21 Laps
  15 Mike Benham
United Kingdom Alex Kapadia
Malthe Jakobsen
Ligier JS P320 100 3:58'55.433 30 Laps
  5 Cresp Christophe
France Fabien Lavergne
Adrien Chila
Ligier JS P320 98 3:18'29.217 32 Laps
  30 France Tristan Gommendy
Austria Rene Binder
Mexico Memo Rojas
Oreca 07 17 27'28.772 113 Laps
  18 Italy Bressan Alessandro
Greece Andreas Laskaratos
Italy Damiano Fioravanti
Ligier JS P320 15 25'31.195 115 Laps
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