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4H Portimão: Friday Paddock Notes

A few notes from DSC's first day in the ELMS paddock at Algarve

Fannin looking to stick with JMW for 2018

Jody Fannin has told DSC earlier today that he’s aiming to stick with JMW Motorsport in 2018, should it confirm an entry into the ELMS in GTE.

The Britain, who is firmly in the GTE title battle in his first season with the team, said: “I’m working hard on 2018, and ideally I’d like to stick with JMW. They’re a well run team, with a great car, in a great championship.”

The battle before the war

The LMP2 championship contenders took part in a tug of war trackside this morning, with all six drivers from the United Autosports and G-Drive Racing by DragonSpeed camps attempting to get a leg up on the competition prior to the on-track action.

G-Drive Racing by DragonSpeed’s trio of Ryo Hirakawa, Leo Roussel and Memo Rojas eventually came away with the win, and will be hoping for the same success on Sunday!

Tuesday test

While most of the field have yet to race at the Portimão circuit in sports cars, multiple teams took part in a pre-event test at the circuit on Tuesday this week to get some running in before the official sessions began.

Each team is allowed to run at a circuit as part of an organised series test on the week of a meeting twice a year, at venues of their choosing.

Sadly the running earlier this week was interrupted by rain, which limited the teams who were present to a very limited window racing in dry weather.

Warburton and Kapadia well prepared for Portimão

DSC caught up with RLR’s Alex Kapadia today, the Britain set to compete, as usual, in both the ELMS and Michelin Le Mans Cup with the team this weekend.

Kapadia explained that his Le Mans Cup teammate Ross Warburton is quietly confident ahead of the weekend, having done four days testing at the track in a Ligier LMP3 prior to this weekend.

Warburton and Kapadia completed two days with the Speedworks team and two days in the Le Mans Cup prologue test.

Flash back to 2010

This year’s race at Algarve is the first for the ELMS since 2010, and a lot has changed since then! The seven-year gap since it last featured on the series calendar means that most of the drivers on the entry haven’t raced sportscars at the Portuguese circuit!

Of the 2017 field, only four drivers were present back in 2010: Nicolas Lapierre, who won the race with Team ORECA Matmut in a Peugeot 908, Darren Turner, who, with JMW, finished fourth in GT2 alongside Rob Bell in the team’s Aston Martin, Christian Reid, who, in the Team Felbermayr-Proton Porsche, finished fifth in GT and Oliver Pla, who DNF’d in the Quifel ASM Team LMP2 Zytek.

Notably, the pole time that weekend in LMP1 was a 1:30.681 by Lapierre, and the LMP2 pole lap was a 1:33.489 by Danny Watts in Strakka Racing’s HPD ARX-01C. If it stays dry tomorrow, it’ll be interesting to see what this year’s prototype field can manage!

Barthez tops Bronze Test

Today’s Bronze Test at Portimao saw #23 Fabien Barthez Ligier top the times, Fabien Barthez setting a 1:37.491 during his 19-lap run in the car. The time was 0.046 quicker than the #21 10Star DragonSpeed ORECA of Henrik Hedman.

In LMP3, Nicolas Schatz steered the #7 Duqueine Engineering Norma to the top of the times with a 1:41.526 while a 1:45.358 by Gianluca Roda was good enough to set the pace in GTE in the #51 Spirit of Race Ferrari.