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ALGARVE WELCOME SPRING - TALES FROM THE PADDOCK

The Algarve Welcome Spring, which marked the first event of the Iberian Supercars Endurance, generated several interesting stories in the paddock.




Which car has the highest top speed?


The top speed is always one of the numbers that arouses more curiosity among the fans, in fact, more among the fans than among the drivers and teams, since, for them, the imperative is to make a lap as fast as possible and, sometimes, having a high top speed does not mean being fast. During the Algarve Welcome Sprint, Araújo Competição's McLaren 570S Trophy, shared by Manuel Vistas and Rúben Vaquinhas, reached the highest speed - 250.6 km/h.


In a very competitively balanced field, throughout the weekend there was a difference of less than 10 km/h between the top speeds of the most competitive cars.


The last minute signing


It was expected that Manuel Vistas would drive Araújo Competição's McLaren 570S Trophy alone during the first part of the season. However, a few days before the start of the Algarve Welcome Spring weekend, the possibility of Ruben Vaquinhas driving the Woking made car arose.


It is understandable that you were unaware of this last-minute signing, as Ruben Vaquinhas had never participated in a motorsport race before. Even in karting, he had never competed in a federated race. His track experience was limited to track days with high-performance cars, supported by simulators, and karting.


It was a rush to obtain a Portuguese ASN FPAK license for Ruben Vaquinhas, but it was well-deserved. Despite not having any prior experience with the McLaren, he secured second place in qualifying, competing with Fernando Soares for the GTX pole-position, and also climbed the podium in his division.


Threat of rain leaves teams startled


Those who go to the Algarve at the beginning of May may assume they will not find fabulous beach days, but hardly expect to get wet by anything other than Atlantic water tempered by the Mediterranean.


Yet on Saturday, less than half an hour before the first qualifying of the season, rain could be seen on the horizon, with some having to switch on the windscreen wipers on their way to the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve.


Rain could change everything, after all the practice sessions had been held in hot, dry conditions, leaving the teams unsure of which way to go.


The threat of rain never materialised, however, and qualifying took place on a dry track, much to the satisfaction of the teams who were sure of their settings, and to the disappointment of those who needed an element of uncertainty to spring a surprise.



Concentration of Champions



Well revealing of the level and health of a motor racing competition is the number of champions that choose a certain championship, since these are the men who want to beat at the highest level, to face the best.


At the joint round of the Campeonato de Portugal de Velocidade and the Iberian Supercars Endurance were no less than eight champions among twenty-nine cars.


Manuel Gião, Elias Niskanen, Francisco Carvalho, Daniel Teixeira and Bruno Pires, remained in the competition to defend the titles they conquered last year, which only in itself demonstrates the vitality of the championship, which manages to keep its champions, but three more arrived from other competitions.


Francisco Abreu, who won the 2022 Campeonato de España de Resistencia - GT, Carlos Vieira, who secured the 2022 GT3 Cup title, and José Carlos Pires, winner of the Super 7, moved up to the most important competitions in Portugal and in the Iberian Peninsula, which become the championships with the greatest concentration of champions, without taking into account Alejandro Geppert's Vice Title in the 2022 Campeonato de España de Turismo.



The return of a great name to the top of tops


For many years, the name Garagem Aurora was synonymous with Porsche in Portuguese racing circuits, having given titles to several well-known Portuguese and non-Portuguese racers.


However, after the disappearance of Group 5 in the mid-1980s, Garagem Aurora lost its prominence in the Campeonato de Portugal de Velocidade. But now, a few weeks after the death of founder Master Eduardo, it has returned with a Porsche 911 Cup entered for João Vieira.


During a weekend when the late Mestre Eduardo was honored on the starting grid of the Historic Endurance race, Garagem Aurora secured a victory in the GTC category. This was the best way to remember its founder.



Youngsters progress


After a thorough and demanding selection process, the FPAK Junior Team took its first steps on the track at Autódromo Internacional do Algarve. The three teams were formed by Mariana Machado and Duarte Pinto Coelho, Henrique Cruz and Lourenço Monteiro, and Duarte Camelo and Gabriel Caçoilo. The formations will be changed event by event so that all drivers have the opportunity to team up with each other.


As expected, all three Ginetta G40s showed improvement throughout the weekend, and all three were involved in the fight for the GTC division podium.


However, there is still plenty of room for progression, and it is expected that the six drivers supported by the FPAK will continue their evolution in Jarama, where the next stage of the Campeonato de Portugal de Velocidade will take place in the second joint event with the Supercars Endurance.


Quote of the Weekend


Ni Amorim, President of the FPAK: "This Campeonato de Portugal de Velocidade is a huge success! Diogo Ferrão is very modest when he says that this is the best championship of the last fifteen years, I dare to say that it is the best Portuguese national championship since I remember watching car races."

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