Bruno Pires/Alvaro Fontes unbeatable in the first race at Portimão.
The duo Álvaro Fontes/Bruno Pires, in the Porsche 911 Cup of Fabela Sport, were unbeatable on Sunday morning in the first race of the second round of the Iberian Supercars Endurance, starting from pole position and dominating from start to finish, taking the chequered flag with 6.781s ahead of Manuel Gião and Elias Niskanen (Mercedes AMG GT4).
The surprise of the superiority shown by the Portuguese-Spanish duo's Porsche was followed by mechanical problems, and not only that, some of the usual candidates in contention for the victory retired prematurely. The first was Francisco Carvalho, Miguel Cristóvão's teammate (pole position holder for the second race), as the McLaren 570S GT4 leased from SMC Motorsport went into "safety mode" at the end of the first lap, forcing the team to abandon. "I think that happened because the first lap was too slow...," said the Guarda driver. Shortly after, the other McLaren 570S GT4, that of Fernando Navarrete and Gonzalo de Andrés, also sounded the 'alarm' that something was not right in terms of performance, and the first of these drivers decided to stop in the pits and abandon to avoid the risk of 'breaking' the engine.
"For reasons of force majeure, Fábio Mota could not be present and we managed to get Álvaro Fontes, a very experienced driver, to come. As for the race, it was a perfect race from the start, first with Álvaro and then with me at the wheel, in an excellent car, thanks to the great work of Fabela Sport", said Bruno Pires commenting on the victory, while his Spanish team-mate added: "Everything was perfect". The number 7 Porsche 911 Cup won overall and also in the GTC class, with a big gap to Álvaro Ramos/Fred Block (McLaren 570S), who had started from the pit lane, as Ramos was delayed... "I feel more and more adapted to the McLaren and this time I had to go for the damage, but it worked out well, with second place in the GTC class", confessed Álvaro Ramos.
With great consistency, Manuel Gião and Finland's Elias Niskanen, from the start of the race in the top 4, drove the Lema Racing AMG Mercedes AMG to a well-deserved second place, far behind the closest rival, the McLaren 570S of the Spanish duo Guillermo Aso/Tomás Pintos. "This second place was a good reward after the problems we had in practice, when an intake pipe came loose, causing the engine to lose power. I did a back and forth race, confirming that the car was perfect, much better than at Jarama, and on the second lap my team-mate Elías kept attacking, which allowed us to achieve this magnificent result", said Manuel Gião.
The unlucky ones of the GT4 morning were undoubtedly Jorge Rodrigues and Patrick Cunha, who were in the second position throughout the race and, with two laps to go, a puncture left the Veloso Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT4 stopped on the track, dropping to an unlucky ninth place in the standings.
In the TCR category, misfortune continues to follow Daniel Teixeira, who was the pole winner and race leader when one of the tires of his CUPRA broke, causing him to spin and end his race in the gravel. From then on, the duel between the Audi RS3 LMS of the Jorge Silva/Pedro Silva duo and the Hyundai Elantra N of António Coimbra and Luís Silva was intense, which ended up favouring the former. "It's always good to come back to the Portuguese Championship and win. Jorge started with a good pace and handed the car over to me in the second position, after a lively duel with the Hyundai which I then managed to overtake, then put in some fast laps to stand out and maintain the lead until the end", said Pedro Silva. António Coimbra, in his turn, said: "The duel with Jorge Silva was sometimes too far away from him, but then I managed to overtake him and gave the car to Luís in the first place". And Luís Silva, for his part, justified: "On my first lap, I was overtaken by the Audi, and then I lost a bit of confidence in the car and, later on, a piece of the tire from the Audi R8 got stuck under the Hyundai, making an incredible noise. Otherwise, with Daniel Teixeira out of the race, the aim was to get to the end and hold on to the second place."
1º, Bruno Pires/Alvaro Fontes (Fabela Sport/Porsche 911 Cup/GTC), 23 voltas
2º, Manuel Gião/Elias Niskanen (Lema Racing/Mercedes AMG GT4/GT4 Pro), a 6.781
3º, Guillermo Aso/Tomás Pintos (SMC Motorsport/McLaren 570S GT4/GT4 Pro), a 26.927
4º, Jorge Silva/Pedro Silva (Veloso Motorsport/Audi RS3 LMS/TCR), a 1.01.673
5º, Andrius Zemaitis (PROGT/Porsche Cayman GT4/GT4 Bronze), a 1.36.057
6º, António Coimbra/Luís Silva (Sports & You/Hyundai Elantra/TCR), a 1.47.987
7º, João Silva/Quique Bordas (Garagem João Gomes/Porsche Cayman GT4/GT4 Pro), a 1 volta
8º, Álvaro Ramos/Fred Block (Araújo Competições/McLaren 570S/GTC), a 1 volta
9º, Jorge Rodrigues/Patrick Cunha (Veloso Motorsport/Audi R8 LMS GT4/GT4 Bronze),
10º, Chris Hillaby (Mental Motorsport/Porsche 911 Cup/GTC), a 3 voltas
11º, Miguel Cristóvão/Francisco Carvalho (Araújo Competições/McLaren 570S GT4/GT4 Bronze),