G-Drive Racing seals ELMS title at the Algarve, Graff wins race

G-Drive Racing's Memo Rojas and Leo Roussel clinched the European Le Mans Series title with fourth place in the season finale at the Algarve circuit

G-Drive Racing seals ELMS title at the Algarve, Graff wins race

The race was won in dominant fashion by Graff's James Allen, Richard Bradley and Gustavo Yacaman aboard their ORECA 07, while the G-Drive's United Autosports title rivals Filipe Albuquerque, Will Owen and Hugo de Sadeleer finished second.

The latter trio had needed to win the race to secure the title.

Rojas and Roussel were joined in Portugal by Toyota junior Ryo Hirakawa, who missed the Red Bull Ring and Paul Ricard rounds due to Super GT commitments.

UA, which won the four-hour contests at Silverstone and the Red Bull Ring and arrived at the finale with an 18-point gap to bridge after missing the podium in the three other rounds, commanded the opening half of the race.

But the crew dropped to third when Owen was called in to serve a 55-second stop-and-hold for speeding in the pit lane.

Yacaman took the lead for Graff at the end of the first hour when he pressured De Sadeleer into making a mistake a Turn 1, before the order reversed during the next round of stops.

Allen then edged the ORECA back in front when De Sadeleer, who completed a mammoth two-hour stint, clipped an LMP3 car and lost momentum.

The two crews were on course for a narrow finish until Owen picked up his penalty with just over an hour remaining, leaving Bradley clear to seal the win by 38s.

Albuquerque restored the United Ligier to second with a late overtake on SMP Racing's Matevos Isaakyan, while Hirakawa ran a distant fourth at the flag.

UA fared better in LMP3, as John Falb and Sean Rayhall clawed their way back from the rear of the grid to win the class title with second place in the race.

The pair were favourites to claim the championship, with their rivals - the M.Racing YMR crew of Alexandre Cougnaud, Antoine Jung and Romano Ricci - needing Falb and Rayhall to finish lower than seventh.

Rayhall had moved into the top three by the second hour, while Falb progressed to the lead during the fourth-hour stops.

UA allowed its sister car of Wayne Boyd, Christian England and Mark Patterson through to take the win - despite England making late contact with an LMP2 Dallara - while Falb and Rayhall completed the one-two.

Jody Fannin and Rob Smith were crowned GTE champions in their JMW Motorsport Ferrari 488.

The British duo, joined this weekend by ex-Formula 1 driver Will Stevens, needed to beat the TF Sport Aston Martin crew of Nicki Thiim, Euan Hankey and Salih Yoluc to claim the title.

Fannin led with 20 minutes to go, but was overtaken by Matteo Cairoli in the Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR.

But that was still enough for JMW to pick up its first ELMS crown since 2012, with the TF Sport Aston crew finishing the race in third.

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