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STATE OF THE NATION


The Iberian Supercars Endurance season is currently on its summer break and has reached its southernmost point. In its first half, there have been emerging trends and protagonists in the fight for supremacy in the peninsula's most important competition. However, there are also contenders eager to disrupt the established order.


With two events completed, all the divisions have yet to be defined, and there are several candidates in the running. There are still 108 points up for grabs over the two weekends to come (25 points for each race and one for each pole position and fastest lap).


To make things more interesting, each competitor will have to discard their two worst race results, and the points earned in the last event of the season at Autódromo do Estoril will have to be counted toward each competitor's points score.


Therefore, there are many factors that will come into play between now and the season-finale on November 26.

GT: All to be decided


In the GT4 Pro division, Elias Niskanen couldn't have had a better start to defending his title with two wins at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve.


The Finn has a new teammate this year, the fast rookie Nuno Pires, at the wheel of the Lema Racing's Mercedes-AMG GT4s. This duo is a serious contender for the 2023 title on a three-car battle.


Speedy Motorsport joined Supercars Endurance this year with a BMW M4 GT4, shared by José Carlos Pires and Francisco Abreu, and showed speed from the start. In Portimão, they got off to the best start with two pole positions, but due to numerous setbacks in the races, they managed no more than a second-place finish.


In Jarama, the Portuguese duo of the Germany-built car confirmed their competitiveness with results, winning two races after an intense duel with the Lema Racing duo.


With four races played out and the wins divided between these two cars, Nuno Pires and Elias Niskanen lead GT4 Pro with 91 points. However, José Carlos Pires and Francisco Abreu are only six points behind, promising to fight for this year's title until the very last moment.


Although these two duos have stood out, there are other teams looking to challenge their dominance in the remaining season.


Andrius Zemaitis and Alejandro Geppert, in a McLaren 570S GT4, aspire to compete for victories, having achieved two podium finishes, and in Jarama, they even led one of the races. If the SMC Motorsport team takes a step forward in the second half of the season, they could easily be in the fight for the title. With 62 points to their name, the 29-point gap between the Portuguese-Finnish duo may not be insurmountable.


Despite having lowered their expectations for their debut season in Supercars Endurance, Sérgio Azevedo and Orlando Batina are not ruled out from making life difficult for the three teams ahead of them with 53 points.


The BMW M4 GT4 (F82) duo made a positive start to their season, as shown by their podium finish in the Algarve. However, in Jarama, the Batina Racing drivers faced some difficulties with the car's setup. If they manage to have more consistency in the next two events, Sérgio Azevedo and Orlando Batina could spring some surprises.


Guillermo Aso, in the NM Racing Team's Mercedes-AMG GT4, and the Vila Nova de Gaia natives Bruno Pires and Fábio Mota, who this year are racing in a Ginetta G55 from Tockwith Motorsport, showed flashes of performance but had numerous unfortunate events ended up jeopardising their results.


Similarly, expectations are high for Portuguese veteran Manuel Gião, who is defending the title he won last year with Elias Niskanen. The driver of the Racar Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT4 has faced a lot of misfortune so far this season, but he hopes that things will improve after the summer when he will have a new teammate in the name of the former FIA F3 driver Roberto Faria.

In GT4 Bronze division, everything is wide open with four competitors separated by twenty-five points - the equivalent of one victory.


Braga’s Jorge Rodrigues and Patrick Cunha are leading the standings in the Veloso Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT4 with the same points, 88, as Nil Montserrat and Alberto de Martín, in the NM Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT4.


The Portuguese duo got off to a flying start, winning both races in the Algarve, but the Spanish team responded in kind in Jarama, showcasing their speed with three pole positions and four fastest laps. However, the Ingolstadt GT team has shown great consistency, finishing on the podium in every race so far.


One of the intriguing aspects of the rest of the season will be to see which of these approaches proves to be the most successful.


In third place is the duo made up of Luís Calheiros and Paul Macedo, driving Lema Racing's Mercedes-AMG GT4. The Portuguese duo is making its debut in Supercars Endurance this year and secured two podiums in the Algarve, one of them being a second-place finish. With 65 points, they have legitimate aspirations to fight for the GT4 Bronze title in their first season in the discipline.


Alfonso Colomina, in SMC Motorsport's McLaren 570S GT4, is in fourth place with 63 points and also has strong aspirations. The Spaniard, who races solo, performed admirably in Jarama with a second and a third place, demonstrating that, under the right conditions, he will be a driver to watch out for in the battle for the top three positions.


Due to some setbacks, Francisco Carvalho and Nuno Batista, in Araújo Competição's McLaren 570S GT4, have only accumulated 20 points. However, this duo has shown notable progress, which allows them to look toward the second half of the season with the ambition of recovering and competing for better positions in the championship.

Touring Cars - Still a long way to go


Among the competitors in the TCR division, Daniel Teixeira, in a Cupra TCR from the JT59 Racing Team, leads with 57 points, but Manuel Sousa and Luís Silva, in a similar car from Grupo TDS, are in the race for the title, just 11 points behind, and could turn the tables in the remaining races - at Jerez de la Frontera and the Autódromo do Estoril.


In the second half of the season, either competitor is looking for the consistency of results that they have lacked so far, which could be decisive for the final outcome of this duel.


Reigning champion Daniel Teixeira has shown supremacy in terms of performance, taking pole-position for every race, but the reliability of his Cupra TCR has been his Achilles heel, having won two races and abandoned in the others.


The Grupo TDS newcomers were unable to capitalise on their opponents' misfortunes in Jarama, as a crash in the first race left them on points and prevented them from taking part in the second race of the weekend.

In TC division, Borja Hormigos and Héctor Hernández are comfortably in the lead on 108 points, with four wins and as many pole-positions and fastest laps. On their Supercars Endurance season debut, the duo in the Autoworks Motorsport BMW M240i Racing are well on their way to winning the division title, but behind them the young drivers from the FPAK Junior Team Ginetta G40s are in an intense fight for second place.


Duarte Camelo is in second place with 68 points, eight ahead of Lourenço Monteiro and 11 ahead of Duarte Pinto Coelho. This trio is slightly ahead, but Mariana Machado, Gabriel Caçoilo and Henrique Cruz are still hoping to catch up with their colleagues in the Portuguese ASN junior team, with the latter 34 points behind the rallycross racer Duarte Camelo.

GTC – Until the end


Álvaro Ramos and Fernando Soares are leading the GTX division standings at the wheel of the Araújo Competição's Aston Martin Vantage, with four wins in four races, guaranteeing them top spot on the points table with 108 points.


Simon Moore and Tomás Pinto Abreu, in Tockwith Motorsport's Ginetta G50, are 34 points behind the "Gaydon Bomb" duo, and showed remarkable progress in Jarama compared to the Algarve races. If they maintain the progress they've already seen, they could be a serious obstacle to their rivals' aspirations at the end of the season.


Stephen Kirton and Jonathan Elsworth (65 points), in a Ginetta G50 from Tockwith Motorsport, and Miguel Nabais and André Nabais (60 points), making their motorsport debut in a Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport from Speedy Motorsport, have already been on the podium, showing potential.


None of these teams is completely out of the fight for the division title, but they will have to get closer to perfection in the second half of the season if they want to make a name for themselves at the end of the year.

Among the Cup division competitors, there is an intense duel between British drivers Marcus Fothergill and Dave Bennett, in the Tockwith Motorsports-run Porsche 911 Cup, and João Vieira, in a Porsche 911 Cup prepared by Porsche specialist Garagem Aurora. They are separated by just 3 points. The difference between the two competitors comes down to the greater number of fastest laps set by the British duo and, with such a short margin between them, the final success could go either way.


The first half of the season has seen the emergence of noteworthy protagonists in all divisions, and equally, it has introduced a cadre of formidable drivers who have faced remarkable challenges. These contenders are determined to reverse the current trends and position themselves as strong contenders for the coveted title, setting the stage for an enthralling, emotion-filled, and unpredictable season finale. As the teams and drivers regroup for the remaining races, the intensity of the competition is set to reach unprecedented levels.


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