Graff Racing scored victory in Sunday’s Four Hours of Portimao, with a 4th place finish enough to give the European Le Mans Series title to G-Drive Racing.
Richard Bradley took the No. 40 Graff Oreca 07 Gibson to a 38.169-second victory over the No. 32 United Autosports Ligier JS P217 Gibson of Filipe Albuquerque, following a pit lane speeding penalty for the Anglo-American squad that took them out of the lead.
The stop-and-hold-plus 55-second penalty dropped Will Owen to third with less than 80 minutes to go, and effectively handing the win to Bradley and co-drivers James Allen and Gustavo Yacaman for the second consecutive race.
It came after fuel-related issues for the car, which had to make an additional stop according to Bradley, who said they were 20 liters short during each stop.
While the No. 27 SMP Racing Dallara P217 Gibson made it three different LMP2 constructors on the overall podium, the fourth place finish for Ryo Hirakawa gave his co-drivers Memo Rojas and Leo Roussel the drivers’ title, as well as the team’s championship to the Russian-backed squad.
Hirakawa missed two races as a result of his Super Formula commitments, therefore, and was not on equal points to his co-drivers.
While United Autosports lost out on the LMP2 championship, the team clinched the LMP3 title with a 1-2 class finish on Sunday.
Sean Rayhall and John Falb took the No. 2 Ligier JS P3 Nissan to a second place result, after an up-and-down day for the American duo, which saw Rayhall start from the rear of the field due to not setting a qualifying time.
Rayhall and Falb, however, needed to finish only within the top-six to take the drivers’ crown, but faced drama throughout the race, including a spin by Falb in the final hour.
The team’s No. 3 entry of Christian England, Wayne Boyd and Mark Patterson claimed top class honors in the race, their first of the season.
GTE class honors went to the No. 77 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR of Matteo Cairoli, Christian Ried and Joel Camathias, thanks to the Italian’s late-race pass on Jody Fannin for the eventual win.
JMW Motorsport’s Fannin and co-driver Rob Smith, however, claimed the class championship with the second place result in their No. 66 Ferrari 488 GTE they shared with Will Stevens.
Engine issues for the class pole-sitting No. 55 Spirit of Race Ferrari saw the team drop out just past halfway after also contending for the win.
RESULTS: 4H Portimao