Inter Europol lost the European Le Mans Series LMP3 title to the Eurointernational squad after a post-race penalty shifted the class order of Sunday’s 4 Hours of Portimao.
After finishing second on the road in their Ligier JS P3 Nissan, Inter Europol’s Martin Hippe and Nigel Moore were initially classified as drivers’ champions, with their main rivals Mikkel Jensen and Jens Petersen crossing the line in seventh.
This put Inter Europol on 112 points and Eurointernational, which was also running a Ligier, on 100 points, after the two teams arrived in Portugal on 94 apiece.
However, Hippe was found to have undercut his minimum drive time allocation by 16 minutes and 13 seconds, resulting in a penalty.
As a bronze-rated driver, Hippe was required to be behind the wheel for at least one hour, 22 minutes and six seconds of the four-hour race. This requirement was an adjusted amount after a lengthy red flag period ate up the opening hour following a massive first-lap crash.
Inter Europol’s penalty was the addition of nine laps to its total, which effectively demoted the No. 13 Ligier to eleventh and last in the LMP3 category.
The nine-lap amount was calculated by dividing Hippe’s missing seat time by his car’s fastest lap of the race.
With half a point on offer for finishing outside the top ten, Hippe and Moore ended the season on 95.5 points, while Jensen and Petersen moved up to sixth in the race results and came away with a total of 102 points.
This handed Eurointernational its first ELMS title at the end of its fourth campaign in the LMP3 ranks with the Ligier chassis.
The penalty also benefited United Autosports’ No. 2 Ligier crew of Tommy Erdos, Garret Grist and Wayne Boyd who moved up to second place in the race standings.
They and race winners Terence Woodward, James Dayson and Ross Kaiser were joined on the podium by the Ultimate Norma crew of Francois Heriau, Mathieu Lahaye and Jean-Baptiste Lahaye, who inherited third.