Filipe Albuquerque in the #22 United Autosport ORECA 07 finished this morning’s Free Practice in Portimao session at the top of the timesheets with a 1:32.241.
The Portuguese driver was four tenth quicker than the #23 Panis Barthez Competition Ligier ORECA 07 Gibson of René Binder and Will Stevens which finished up with a 1:32.639. The #25 Algarve Pro Racing ORECA 07 finished in third position (1:32.731) after leading the session temporarily while Olivier Pla was driving.
The first Ligier ended in tenth position with the #34 Inter Europol Competition Ligier JSP217 Gibson lapping 1.2 seconds slower than the leading ORECA.
The LMP2 championship leaders in the #26 G-Drive Racing Aurus 01 Gibson, Roman Rusinov, Jean-Eric Vergne and Job Van Uitert, finished in eighth position, a full second behind this morning’s fastest car (1:33.283). Their title rivals in the #28 Idec Sport ORECA, Paul Lafargue, Paul Loup Chatin and Memo Rojas, ended fourth, half a second quicker.
In the rest of the category, the #30 Duqueine Engineering had a tough morning. on its 14th lap, French driver Nico Jamin lost a wheel. Although the session was red-flagged, the car was able to make it back to its pits for repair. The French ORECA returned on track with 30 minutes remaining in the session.
Meanwhile, in LMP3, most of the session was dominated by the points leading #11 Eurointernational Ligier JS P3 with Mikkel Jensen setting the team’s fastest lap, a 1:40.819. Yet in the final instants of the session, Lucas Legeret raised the bar in the #19 MRacing Norma M30 with a fastest lap of 1:40.813.
The #13 Inter Europol Competition Ligier JS P3 Nissan shared by Martin Hippe and Nigel Moore, which is tied for the points lead, ended in sixth position; over a second slower than the leading LMP3 car (1:41.926)
In the LMGTE class, at least five different cars were in contention for the fastest lap. In the end, it was a 1-2 for Proton with the #77 Porsche 911 RSR after Matteo Cairoli set a 1:42.077, leading the #88 sister car which had Thomas Preining set its best time, a 1:42.184.
The newly-crowned champions in the #51 Luzich Racing Ferrari F488 GTE Evo ended up in this session, a full 1.2 second behind the benchmark. The US-flagged team’s Ferrari is carrying the most ballast of the runners in the class.
Next up for the ELMS runners is the qualifying session at 3.45 pm local time.