Free practice at Portimão marked by balanced times
The Jorge Rodrigues/Patrick Cunha Audi R8 LMS GT4 duo set the fastest time in free practice for the third round of the Iberian Supercars Endurance. The top four drivers were separated by less than a second.
With the GT4 cars vying for the top of the grid and the TCR... cars waiting to see how far they can go, qualifying for Sunday's two mid-afternoon races appears to be a close contest given this advancement.
The Mercedes of Gio and Niskanen and the McLaren rented from the SMC Motorsport team by Cristóvo and Carvalho completed the top four. The Audi won by 0.364 seconds over the McLaren driven by Spaniards Aso and Pintos and by just 0.463 seconds over the Mercedes.
The only way Miguel Cristóvo and Francisco Carvalho could line up during that session was to face the Spanish team because the engine of the number 88 Araujo Competições car broke, who had two spare units in their truck, making one of them available.
Jorge Silva and Pedro Silva in the Veloso Motorsport Audi RS3 LMS stood out among the TCR category competitors, beating Daniel Teixeira, whose CUPRA, despite having new components in the engine power system, failed again, and António Coimbra and Luis Silva in the Hyundai Elantra N TCR, who managed to be in the same second as the driver from Vila Real, despite the top five spots being dominated by GT4.
In the GTC category, Briton Chris Hillaby (Porsche 911 Cup), a newcomer to the championship and the Algarve track, was in good form, beating Álvaro Ramos/Fred Block (McLaren 570 S) and Bruno Pires and Álvaro Fontes, who had to be careful due to overheating problems in the Porsche 911 Cup.
1st, Jorge Rodrigues/Patrick Cunha (Veloso Motorsport/Audi R8 LMS GT4/GT4 Bronze), 1'54.260
2nd, Guillermo Aso/Tomás Pintos (SMC Motorsport/McLaren 570S GT4/GT4 Pro), 1'54.624
3rd, Manuel Gião/Elias Niskanen (Lema Racing/Mercedes AMG GT4/GT4 Pro), 1'54.723
4th, Miguel Cristóvão/Francisco Carvalho (Araújo Competições/McLaren 570S GT4/GT4 Bronze), 1'55.197
5th, Fernando Navarrete/Gonzalo de Andrés (SMC Motorsport/McLaren 570S GT4/GT4 Pro), 1'55.567
6th, Jorge Silva/Pedro Silva (Veloso Motorsport/Audi RS3 LMS/TCR), 1'55.869
7th, Daniel Teixeira (JT59 Racing Team/CUPRA TCR/TCR), 1'56.729
8th, António Coimbra/Luís Silva (Sports & You/Hyundai Elantra/TCR), 1'56.810
9th, Chris Hillaby (Mental Motorsport/Porsche 911 Cup/GTC), 1'56.994
10th, Álvaro Ramos/Fred Block (Araújo Competições/McLaren 570S/GTC), 1'57.328
11th, Bruno Pires/Alvaro Fontes (Fabela Sport/Porsche 911 Cup/GTC), 1.57.355
12th, Andrius Zemaitis (PROGT/Porsche Cayman GT4/GT4 Bronze), 1'59.512
13th, João Silva/Quique Bordás (Garagem João Gomes/Porsche Cayman GT4/GT4 Pro), 2.01.553
14th, Leandro Martins (Porsche 911 Cup/GTC), 2.04.513
15th, Nuno Gonçalves Pedro (Porsche Cayman GT4/GTC), 2.10.865
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)