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Estoril: Race Report Final Hour, Championship Wins For The Mighty #38 & Aston #99

Mid-Race dramas see TDS and JMW title hopes shattered

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40 minutes to go and Olivier Pla made the final stop for the #40 Krohn racing car from second place, a minute plus back from the leader.

38 minutes remaining and in came Tincknell, he stays aboard for a fuel only stop and the team turn the car around with no drama, Tincknell retaining the lead as he emerged from the pit lane with Coletti ready to pit next time around.

A 43 second stop sees the SMP car retain second place, Pla though is hammering down the pit straight in pursuit.

30 minutes remaining and all of the stops done the #38 holds a 70 second edge over the #32 SMP racing BR01, Coletti with his mirrors full of the #40 Krohn Ligier, Olivier Pla looking for a way by and in a hurry as Nico Lapierre is thundering up to the rear of both!

26 minutes and Lapierre is through for third, fresher rubber for the Dragonspeed man makes it look easy as he’s soon past the Russian car too.

Michael Lyons meanwhile is up to fifth in the #33 Eurasia Oreca, though laps down after the cars earlier issue.

And now perhaps rain is about to play a part, 23 minutes remain and thick black clouds are drifting across the circuit.

20 minutes and the rain begins to fall, up go the umbrellas.

Pla is with Coletti for third as the clock ticks down but he’s struggling to find a way by.

Nose to tail for 15 minutes until the 5 minute mark when both the battling pair lost grip at the rear, Pla spinning out before rejoining 6 seconds back.

A faultless stint from Harry Tincknell though brought home the race win, and the Championship win for G-Drive Racing, Jota Sport, Tincknell, ELMS debutant Giedo van der Garde and finally, FINALLY, Simon Dolan with his beloved Mighty #38 Gibson, what a way to retire a car, and to retire open top LMP2 racing in Europe.

Nico Lapierre brought home the #21 Dragonspeed Oreca to a hard fought second with Stefano Coletti bringoing home the #32 SMP Racing BR01 third.

LMP3

At the top of the final hour, Yvan Muller Racing Ligier #18 kept the lead of the category and even became sixth overall. Petit on #9 Graff Racing Ligier raised to second place, ahead of #3 United Autosports Ligier. #3 was able to build some distances with fourth place #12 Eurointernational Ligier as the latter was given a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane.

In the final half-hour of the race, the gap between car #9 and car #3 narrowed to just a few seconds. Mat Bell onboard #3 ultimately overtook the Ligier of Graff Racing on lap 128 and then consistantly built up a margin.

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5 minutes to go and the #20 Ducqueine Engineering car was in the gravel after a spin at T3 with local yellows shown.

Yann Ehrlacher brought it home for the #18 M Racing YMR squad after a neat and tidy run when others stumbled, again, in large numbers.

The title of course had already gone at Spa to the #2 United crew.

The sister #3 Ligier came home second with the #9 Graff Racing car third.

LMGTE

Aston Martin Racing #99 pitted at the top of the hour and kept the lead of the category. Alex Macdowall on-board #99 was able to manage a comfortable margin of 25-30 seconds ahead of AT Racing Ferrari #56 while the two AF Corse Ferraris #51 and #55 driven by Marco Cioci and Matt Griffin battled for third. In the final quarter hour of the race, car #51 took a stop and go penalty for contact with car 8 at turn 3. This settled the top three positions in the category.

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There were no last gasp dramas, all of that happened in the middle period of this race with the Beechdean AMR #99 squad picking up the pieces of JMW Motorsport’s shattered Championship dreams.

The #56 AT Racing Ferrari took second with the #55 AF Corse 458 in third.

And as the final cars cross the line the rain lashes down, a punctuation mark to a very good, but at times very cruel season of ELMS racing!

PROVISIONAL RACE RESULT >>

Hour 1 Report | Hour 2 report | Hour 3 report