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Historic Endurance: Estoril's Unforgettable 250km Showdown

As part of the Estoril Endurance Festival programme, the race that closes the Iberian Historic Endurance season, the 250 km of Estoril, was held and the winners were discovered close to the chequered flag.

The competitive day of Historic Endurance at the Autódromo do Estoril began with qualifying and, with the track in difficult conditions, it was hotly contested with several teams passing each other at the top of the timesheets.

In the end, the Porsche 911 3.0 RS shared by Carlos Brizido and João Pina Cardoso beat Pedro Bastos Rezende, both in similar H-1976 class cars, by just 0.268s. Despite the asphalt being damp but tending to dry out, making the drivers' task more difficult, there was a huge balance, with the top four separated by an unimpressive 0.481s.

This group also included the Porsche 911 2.8 RS of Paul Daniels and Markus Palttala and the agile Lotus Elan 26R of Carlos Barbot and Diogo Matos, with these two teams sharing the second row of the starting grid.

In this order, the first four and the rest of the pack lined up in the classic Le Mans-style start – drivers on one side of the track and cars on the other, parked in rows according to qualifying order – for the anticipated 250 km of Estoril race.

Before the symbolic start, there was still time for the São Pedro de Sintra Firefighters Fanfare to describe the long starting grid with the sound of percussion instruments, setting the rhythm for a race that would turn out to be thrilling and fiercely contested, while the imposing trophy supported by PowerSHIELD adorned the finish line.

The first leader of the pack was the Porsche of Carlos Brizido and João Pina Cardoso, who started well from pole position, while the challenge from Carlos Barbot and Diogo Matos faded away on the fourth lap, with the DNF of the sophisticated Lotus Elan 26R.

Throughout the two-hour race, there were several leaders, with Hipólito Pires and Tiago Raposo Magalhães even taking the lead after pit stops. However, two penalties ultimately delayed the duo of the Porsche 904/6 irreversibly, still winning the H-1965 class against the Shelby Cobra Daytona of Brice Pineau and Olivier Muytjens, with P-A Forsvall in the Lotus Elan taking the final podium spot in this contest.

It was then that Jesus Fuster and Jorge Lopez took command of the race, giving the impression that they could hold onto it until the checkered flag. The hopes of the Porsche 911 3.0 RS duo would fade away with a penalty for overtaking in the pit lane during one of the pit stops.

The Spanish duo in the German car crossed the finish line third in the H-1976 class, following Pedro Bastos Rezende onto the podium. The latter was the first to cross the finish line with a performance that combined consistency and immaculate pit management, which allowed him to lift the coveted and imposing 250 km of Estoril Cup.

With a clean race and no mistakes, Paul Daniels and Markus Palttala, two former FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) drivers, saw the chequered flag in second place and were classified in the same position in the H-1976 class.

Paulo Lima, in his majestic Ford GT40, was also a candidate to lift the event's imposing and spectacular Cup, but some penalties prevented him from doing so. He did, however, win the GTP & SC class, leaving behind João Mira Gomes and Nuno Afoito, in their Lotus 7 that won this race in 2014, and setting the fastest lap of the race.

Father and son, Stéphane Rey and Mathias Rey, in Crossle 7S, were on the bottom step of the podium in this class, although a long way off the top two.

In the H-1971 class, there was also an intense fight for the win between the Alfa Romeo GTAm of Pedro Gonçalves, Manuel Melo and João Sardinha and a similar car from the Arese marque of Rafael Cerveira Pinto and Carlos Dias Pedro, and it was this pair who ended up coming out on top by imposing themselves on their opponents in this race.

Vítor Costa, unable to catch up with the fast Italian machines, took his Lotus Elan to the bottom step of the podium in this class, his first podium of the season.

Nuno Nunes, in a Porsche 911 SWB, was the strongest in the Gentleman Driver Spirit (GDS) class, where Garagem João Gomes monopolised the podium positions, being joined on the podium by Michel Mora, in a similar car from Weissach, and the duo Piero dal Maso/José Carvalhosa. However, until a few minutes before the end of the race, it was the French driver who was in first place, but a drive through put him in second place in the class.

In the most important classification of southern Europe's most prestigious classic racing competition, the Index of Performance, which offers a fabulous and exclusive Cuervos y Sobrinos watch, there was a huge battle, with the Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti Super of Rui Bevilacqua, António Magalhães and Nuno Veiga coming out on top against the Lotus Elan of the Swede P-A Forsvall and the BMW 1800 Ti SA of Alberto Velez-Grilo and Luís Sousa Ribeiro.

The Iberian Historic Endurance season ended in celebration, leaving all the drivers and teams with a sense of satisfaction and the desire to look ahead to the 2024 season.


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