The Luso-Finnish duo Manuel Gião/Elias Niskanen, in the Mercedes AMG GT4 of Lema Racing, triumphed, by a margin of 0.511s over Fernando Navarrete and Gonzalo de Andrés (McLaren 570S GT4), in the second race of the third round of the Campeonato de Portugal de Velocidade (CPV) by Hankook and second of the Iberian Supercars Endurance at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão.
"This victory started on Elias [Niskanen], who saved tyres and drove conservatively in the first part of the race without dropping the McLaren. Then in the final part I pushed hard, because it was very important to win this second race, proving that we have the car and the team to be ahead of the McLaren. But it was not easy, we had a very intense duel. Although they have different characteristics, I think Mercedes and McLaren are the fastest cars," said Manuel Gião delighted with his young team-mate and also with Lema Racing.
Somewhat aggrieved were the Spanish duo De Andrés/Navarrete beaten at the end with the latter saying he had lifted his foot and offered no resistance to the approaching Mercedes AMG after seeing a black flag with the German car's number on it.
"Under normal conditions, I believe we would win this race," said Gonzalo de Andrés, who was involved in a race incident with Miguel Cristóvão, when the latter, still in the first half of the race, had risen to the first place. In fact, Cristóvão, who took the pole position and was penalized five places behind the grid because the McLaren 570S rented from SMC Motorsport - the Araújo Competição car had its engine broken in Saturday's private practice session - didn't have the regulation ground clearance in qualifying, had a fantastic race. He started from the sixth place, printed a very strong pace, and even before passing the wheel of the car to Francisco Carvalho, he could ascend to the leadership, but for a short time.
After overtaking the McLaren driven by De Andrés, the latter could not avoid a rear-end collision that left marks and forced Cristóvão to enter the pits, where he had to remove some protection that had come loose. He returned to the track, but there was nothing left to do in terms of victory. "He came to apologize, but the truth is that the damage is done and can not be corrected," lamented Miguel Cristóvão.
The other McLaren from SMC Motorsport, at the time driven by Tomás Pintos had a remarkable first part of the race, but when Guillermo Aso took the lead he had gearbox problems and had to slow down to get to the end (10th place).
Troubled, but with a happy ending was the race of the duo Bruno Pires/Alvaro Fontes, winner of the first race with the Porsche 911 Cup from Fabela Sport, which had problems with the power steering and when they went to the pits to try to solve them they exceeded the speed limit, which earned them a penalty of mandatory passage through the pit lane: "From one moment to another, we went to last place. With only one set of tyres, I did my best to recover positions and then Alvaro [Fontes] managed to bring the car to the third place," said Bruno Pires, happy with the final third place on the podium and also with a new victory in the GTC class. This time, the British Chris Hillaby (Porsche 911 Cup) finished second and in front of the McLaren 570S duo of the gentleman drivers Álvaro Ramos and Fred Block.
The battle for the first places in the TCR class was exciting, between Daniel Teixeira (CUPRA), undoubtedly the unluckiest driver of the CPV, and the Audi RS3 LMS of Jorge Silva and Pedro Silva. Teixeira was the one who stood out and everything indicated that he was going to win this day in Portimão, but a few dozen meters away from the chequered flag he was overtaken by Sports & You's Hyundai Elantra N driven by António Coimbra.
"In the last five/six laps, the engine started to fail and there went the advantage I had, and I ended up being overtaken on the finish line. It's frustrating, but I have to congratulate the winners," said a distraught Daniel Teixeira, while the Sports & You driver explained:
"I had already been warned that Jorge Silva had been penalised with a 'drive through' and that Daniel Teixeira was in trouble. I managed to overtake him 30 meters from the finish line. It was a fun and competitive weekend. With this result we are leaders of the championship and we will go to the last round, in Estoril, in first place."
Jorge Silva and Pedro Silva were somewhat disappointed when they finished third in the TCR series, after fighting for the victory. "It was a tough race, after being penalized with the 'drive through', for exceeding the speed in the pitlane. That changed everything and from then on we never managed to recover," Jorge Silva.
1º, Elias Niskanen/Manuel Gião (Lema Racing/Mercedes AMG GT4/GT4 Pro), 23 voltas
2º, Gonzalo de Andrés/Fernando Navarrete (SMC Motorsport/McLaren 570S GT4/GT4 Pro), a 0.511s
3º, Bruno Pires/Alvaro Fontes (Fabela Sport/Porsche 911 Cup/GTC), a 55.641
4º, Luís Silva/António Coimbra (Sports & You/Hyundai Elantra/TCR), a 1.00.009
5º, Daniel Teixeira (JT59 Racing Team/CUPRA TCR/TCR), a 1.01.250
6º, Pedro Silva/Jorge Silva (Veloso Motorsport/Audi RS3 LMS/TCR), a 1.03.677
7º, Chris Hillaby (Mental Motorsport/Porsche 911 Cup/GTC), a 1.44.064
8º, Quique Bordás/João Silva (Garagem João Gomes/Porsche Cayman GT4/GT4 Pro), a 1.55.083
9º, Andrius Zemaitis (PROGT/Porsche Cayman GT4/GT4 Bronze), a 1.57.374
10º, Tomás Pintos/Guillermo Aso (SMC Motorsport/McLaren 570S GT4/GT4 Pro), a 1 volta
11º, Fred Block/Álvaro Ramos (Araújo Competições/McLaren 570S/GTC), a 1 volta
12º, Miguel Cristóvão/Francisco Carvalho (Araújo Competições/McLaren 570S GT4/GT4 Bronze), 1 volta
DNS Patrick Cunha/Jorge Rodrigues (Veloso Motorsport/Audi R8 LMS GT4/GT4 Bronze)
DNS Nuno Gonçalves Pedro (Porsche Cayman GT4/GTC)
DNS Leandro Martins (Porsche 911 Cup/GTC)
The next race of the Campeonato de Portugal de Velocidade by Hankook is scheduled for 18/20 November, at Estoril Autodrome, but the Iberian Supercars Endurance will have its next round in September (10/11) at Montmelo circuit (Barcelona).