V de V’s competitors had no idea that all sorts of bad weather conditions would be waiting for them in the South of Portugal, still, wet or dry, the track proved to be a phenomenal challenge during Friday’s Free Practice and Qualifying sessions in the Algarve.
V de V 6 Hours Endurance GT/Touring cars/LMP/PFV
GT / Touring cars: IMSA Performance take pole in Portugal
Winners of the last round at Estoril in 2016, and victorious at the opening round of the 2017 championship in Barcelona, is IMSA Performance the new team to beat? With the French team’s Porsche 991 GT3-R in the hands of Nicolas Armindo and Thierry Cornac this weekend, the no.76 GT went straight to the top of the time sheets in Friday’s qualifying practice. The Porsche will be joined by AB Sport Auto’s no.46 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 (Teneketzian / De Narda) on the front row, after the Italian GT dominated both Free Practice sessions. Behind them, CMR with Sport Garage (Ferrari 458 GT3 n°44) start 3rd and Visiom’s Ferrari 488 GT3 entrusted to reigning champions Pagny, Perrier & Bouvet start 4th. The third row will host V de V/AB Sport Auto’s Renault R.S. 01 and RMS’s Porsche 991 GT3 Cup car.
LMP / PFV: Pegasus Racing & Duqueine Engineering: masters of the Algarve
When the track went green for Friday evening’s qualifying session, Pegasus Racing knew they had to try and beat rivals Simpson Motorsport, after they secured pole position in the previous 4-hour race at Barcelona. It was an intense half-hour, but in the end the no.57 G57 entrusted to Simpson, Murray and Hibbert took their revenge and placed their Ginetta at the top of the time sheets, meaning the British team and drivers Sanders and Fielding, at the wheel of car no.52 had to settle for second place on the grid for tomorrow’s 6-hour endurance race.
On the LMP3 front, Duqueine Engineering’s drivers steered their cars to a fantastic 1-2 result – with the no.9 Ligier JSP3, entrusted to Duqueine / Droux / Panciatici starting ahead of the no.8 car, handled by Borga / Henqvist. The two LMP3 prototypes were however closely followed by N’Race’s no.93 prototype (Fontaine / Decultot / Perroy) who finished 3rd in Spain, preventing Inter Europol Competition from taking the 3rd spot on the grid for tomorrow’s race. The no.22 Polish Ligier, entrusted to Smiechowski / Still / Elkmann starts 4th, in front of Graff (no.39) handled by Trouillet / Gauvin / Deguffroy. After encouraging results in both Free Practice sessions, DB Autosport’s Norma M30 LM P3 placed their car in 7th position.
V de V 6 Hours Endurance Proto: Graff are back on top!
The track was declared wet for the first Free Practice session on Friday, which left most teams stuck in their garages, as they waited for an opportunity to set a decent lap time in such severe conditions. The second however proved to be slightly more appealing to V de V’s drivers, as the surface was still humid, yet each team knew they had to get out on track and attack the Portimao rolla-coaster. In the end, Graff proved strongest in the wet and placed their no.9 Norma M20 FC at the top of the time sheets, proud to finally be back at the front of the grid with their strong driver line-up composed of Marroc, Trouillet & Fort. After the afternoon’s thrilling events, TFT’s no.2 prototype, currently leading the 2017 championship standings, set the second fastest time (after going fastest in the morning’s session), but the team based in the South of France didn’t stop there. Their no.8 Norma, entrusted to Capillaire, Creed & Melnikov ended up 3rd quickest, and car no.6, handled by drivers Bazaud, Thirion & Caillon placed 4th on the time sheets. Other rapid lap times came from CD Sport’s no.14 prototype, driven by V de V regulars Bole-Besançon, Scheier & Taittinger, while DB Autosport’s no.22 Norma, handled by Delafosse, Vaucher & Accary also showed they are on the pace here at Portimao. Another strong candidate to look out for this weekend, is of course Barcelona 3rd place finishers RC Formula and their drivers L. & A. Robert / Perroy. The Endurance Proto competitors have one more Free Practice session tomorrow, before Qualifying begins at 1.20pm local time.
Source. V De V