European Le Mans Series Round 6. Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, Portimão, Portugal. October 2018.

United Autosports took a ‘home driver’ win today when their #22 Ligier JS P217 of local driver Filipe Albuquerque and Phil Hanson took to the top step of the podium for the second time this season finishing half a second ahead of the #23 Panis Barthez Ligier of Will Stevens, Thimothe Buret and Julien Canal. 

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Following an early collision which dropped the car to the back the title-winning #26 G-Drive Racing ORECA of Andrea Pizzitola, Roman Rusinov and Jean-Eric Vergne fought back to finish third however, a 10-second time penalty for track limits imposed after the ceremony dropped them to fourth, elevating the second United Autosports Ligier of Will Owen, Wayne Boyd and Hugo De Sadeleer to third giving a posthumous 1-2-3 to Ligier’s JS P217s. 

In a race that was heavy with bad luck and questionable driving, Konstantin Tereschenko earned the dubious honour of the heaviest penalty collecting a two-minute stop and hold penalty together with a dressing down over the radio from Race Director Eduardo Freitas for a move that saw him collect the #3 United Autosports and #7 Ecurie Ecosse/ Nielsen LMP3 cars.

European Le Mans Series Round 6. Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, Portimão, Portugal. October 2018.

In the LMP3 class, Inter Europol scored its first ever ELMS victory with the #13 Ligier of Martin Hippe and Jakub Smiechowski; the Polish pair putting in a faultless performance. RLR MSport claimed the Championship title despite loosing out on the win and finishing fifth. Despite a spirited drive by Job Van Uitert an ill-timed safety car cost the chance of the win when Farano was swallowed up at the restart by the chasing pack and the Canadian driver rightly concentrated on bringing the car home over racing for the win. The Series win earns RLR a 2019 Le Mans invite.

Second place went to the #7 Ecurie Ecosse / Nielsen Racing JSP3 of Colin Noble, Alex Kapadia and Christian Olsen. The #2 United Ligier of outgoing champion John Falb and Scott Andrews finished third, recovering well from suffering damage at the start of the race which cost the duo valuble time in the pits for a nose-change.

European Le Mans Series Round 6. Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, Portimão, Portugal. October 2018. 

In GTE Proton Competition took the win with the #77 Porsche 911 RSR of Christian Ried, Marvin Dienst and Dennis Olsen finishing a lap clear of all but the second-placed JMW Ferrari. Despite such a spirited drive for the #77 it was the sister car, the #88 Porsche which took the Series title by 7.5 points (and the first of the automatic 2019 Le Mans GTE entries) with a third place finish; Gianluca Roda sustained heavy rear-end damage, loosing its entire diffuser and rear bodywork and forcing the team to complete repair work at a later stop.

European Le Mans Series Round 6. Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, Portimão, Portugal. October 2018. Image: John Stevens for JellyBaby.Media

Despite a collision with the #88 Porsche followed by a contact with the #17 Ultimate Norma M30 at T4 which earned a drive-though penalty as a consequence, the #66 JMW Ferrari F488 GTE of Liam Griffin, Miguel Molina and Alex Macdowall held on to take the final step of the GTE podium earning the team the second Le Mans GTE auto entry, along with Proton.

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European Le Mans Series Round 6. Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, Portimão, Portugal. October 2018. Image: John Stevens for JellyBaby.Media