The weather forecast was spot on; it was always going to be wet, and the opening hour of the season finale at Portimao was duly red flagged after a handful of tours behind the Safety Car. Eventually, the race got underway and proved to be a competitive, tightly fought, and trouble-free race, with both our #13 LMP3 and #43 LMP2 finishing fourth in their respective classes.
After plenty of practice, qualifying took place in drying conditions on Saturday, with the #13 of Kai Askey sixth fastest in the #13 LMP3, while Olli Caldwell was fifth best in the LMP2 Pro field.
The race was down to three hours following the delayed start and subsequent halt. Miguel Cristóvão quickly vaulted to second position in the #13 LMP3, battling for the race lead with the #11 Ligier. Strategy played its part, with our rival opting to take its long stop early in the race, while the #13 crew took it at the final opportunity.
Unfortunately, this didn’t fall in our favour on this occasion, as Miguel first moved to the front before Kai took his turn at the head of the field. Wyatt took over for the run to the flag, but with the mandated longer final stop, he resumed fifth before gaining one position ahead of the chequered flag,
It was similar for the #43 trio of Rui Andrade, Olli and Jonathan Aberdein. They showed great pace at various points of the week, but race day was a little disappointing; they, too, had to be content with fourth place.
Friday’s round, a replacement for the cancelled Imola race from earlier in the season, was challenging despite another excellent performance from Miguel, who again led the LMP3 field throughout his two stints. With Wyatt Brichacek running well and pushing for a strong result, a hefty kerb strike late race fractured the bell housing, releasing oil onto the hot exhaust.
Once the Marshalls extinguished the fire, it was a very late night for the #13 crew to perform the required repairs. The #43, meanwhile, slipped back in the opening stint and was later given a time penalty for a driver time rule infringement, placing it at the back of the field.
Meanwhile, there were positives in the Michelin Le Mans Cup, as the season concluded with the first points for the #15 pairing of Chris Short / Bryson Morris and the #13 of Ben Stone / Santi Concepcion. It was an early start, with light rain turning to heavy rain as the race progressed. Unlike the penultimate round, this Portimao event brought good racing before lap 31, when the event was neutralised and concluded 30 minutes prematurely.
With the European Le Mans Series concluded, Inter Europol Competition heads to Bahrain next for the final round of the FIA World Endurance Championship on November 4th.