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European Le Mans Series

Albuquerque Storms to Portimao Pole for United

Grid set for European Le Mans Series season finale in Portugal…

Photo: MPS Agency

Filipe Albuquerque has claimed pole for tomorrow’s European Le Mans Series season-ending 4 Hours of Portimao, in a frantic and incident-filled closing moments of qualifying.

The Portuguese ace jumped to the top of the time charts in the No. 22 United Autosports Oreca 07 Gibson, thanks to a 1:31.244 lap time late in the 10-minute session.

Albuquerque edged out the No. 21 DragonSpeed Oreca of Ben Hanley, who held provisional pole for most of the session, by 0.068 seconds.

It marked Albuquerque’s second consecutive pole with the Anglo-American squad, which made the mid-season switch from Ligier to Oreca LMP2 machinery.

Two late-session incidents involving spinning LMP2 cars eliminated the charge of championship leader G-Drive Racing, with Jean-Eric Vergne qualifying the Aurus-badged Oreca in eighth after electing to sit out the first half of the session.

Will Stevens qualified third in the No. 23 Panis-Barthez Competition Oreca, ahead of Alex Brundle in fourth in the No. 32 United Autosports entry.

Paul Loup Chatin completed the top-five in the No. 28 IDEC Sport Oreca, which heads into the weekend with a 13-point deficit to points leaders Roman Rusinov and Job van Uitert of G-Drive.

Lucas Legeret claimed the LMP3 class pole for M Racing, denying title contenders, denying Eurointernational and Inter Europol Competition a crucial championship point.

Legeret took his No. 19 Norma M30 Nissan to a 1:39.179 lap time, leading a 1-2-3 for the French constructor in its final ELMS race under the Norma badging.

It was the Swiss youngster’s third class pole of the year.

Joint championship leader Mikkel Jensen qualified fourth in the No. 11 Eurointernational Ligier JS P3 Nissan, with Nigel Moore set to start ninth in the No. 13 Inter Europol Ligier, who is tied on 94 points with the U.S.-badged team.

Dempsey Proton Racing’s Matteo Cairoli held off late-session improvements from both Thomas Preining and Andrea Piccini to take GTE class pole honors for the fourth time this year.

The Italians’s 1:41.121 lap in the No. 77 Porsche 911 RSR edged out the Porsche junior by 0.120 seconds, marking a front-row sweep for the German squad.

Piccini was third in the No. 60 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GTE, followed by champions-elect Luzich Motorsport, qualified by Alessandro Pier Guidi.

The final race of the ELMS season gets underway on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. local time.

RESULTS: Qualifying

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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