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Hotly contested final in the 10th running of the Estoril 250km

* One second between first and second at the flag

* Lotus cars dominated Index of Performance

* Piero dal Maso won the 1000km Trophy

The Iberian Historic Endurance said goodbye to the 2022 season with the 10th edition of the 250 km of Estoril, in what was one of the most hotly contested editions ever of what is "the endurance classic of the classics" at the Autodromo do Estoril.

At Estoril Classics, the supremacy of the Lars Rolner/Patrick Simon duo had been so evident, that a new dominance of the Porsche 911 3.0 RS at Estoril circuit was expected. However, as early as the qualifying session that determined the starting grid, it was clear that this time the Martini Racing-liveried Porsche was going to be met some serious opposition. The best of the H-1976s beat the Ginetta G4R of Danes Palle Pedersen/Nicolai Kjaergaard, who were fastest in the H-1965 class, by just over 0.3 seconds, and by just over half a second the Porsche 911 2.8 RSR shared by former FIA WEC driver Paul Daniels and super experienced GT driver Markus Palttala.

After the traditional "Le Mans style" start, at the end of the afternoon on a Saturday with unstable weather conditions, Lars Rolner/Patrick Simon went to the front of the race, followed by Paul Daniels/Markus Palttala and Pedro Bastos Rezende (Porsche 911 3.0 RS). But on the fifth lap, something unexpected happened and the first place had an incursion on the gravel and lost a lot of positions, and two laps later the always favourite Bastos Rezende abandoned. Paul Daniels/Markus Palttala led the race for ten laps, losing the lead when they went into the pits, first to the Lotus Elan 26 R of Carlos Barbot and Diogo Matos, and later to the Ginetta.

It was just over halfway through the race, and already starting to get dark in Cascais, when Mário Meireles and Vasco Nina moved to the front of the pack, a position they would hold for seven laps before being overtaken by Lars Rolner/Patrick Simon, who were determined to win again in Portugal with the car prepared by the international Scuderia GT.

However, with thirteen laps to go, after a fast-paced intermediate shift, the little Ginetta would take the lead, only to lose out again to the favourite Porsche. In the end these two cars fought for victory in heavy traffic, with Lars Rolner/Patrick Simon setting the best lap of the race with ten minutes to go and crossing the finish line after two hours of racing, one second ahead of the Ginetta.

Paul Daniels/Markus Palttala were third, ahead of first lady Annete Rolner, who again crewed her unmistakable pink Porsche 911 3.0 RS with former Belgian Touring Car champion Pierre-Alain Thibaut.

This time, Carlos Barbot and Diogo Matos could do nothing to fight for the victory in the H-1965, as the Ginetta prepared in Portugal by Raúl Cunha Vintage Cars Garage was on another level during the whole weekend. The Portuguese duo in the Lotus prepared by Foguete Racing battled with the Porsche 904/6 of Thorkild Stamp/Michael Holden for second place. The pendulum swung back in favour of the Danish duo.

Mário Meireles and Vasco Nina were the fifth classified in the race, and fourth among the H-1976, finishing as the best classified Portuguese in the class, reinforcing the strong end of the season that had the Porsche 911 3.0 RS prepared by Aurora Motorsport, the sports arm of the Aurora Garage.

The Ford Mustang from the Lima family, whose reliability had been questioned at the Estoril Classics, showed that it is also capable of winning on long distance races. Paulo Lima, this time accompanied by his son Bruno Lima and José Paradela repeated Navarra's feat and was first among the H-1971. In second place, two laps behind the class winner, came the reliable Datsun SSS of Nuno Rêgo and André Leal. The podium was completed by Swiss Guillaume Huber in the BMW 1600 Ti from the Breda Motorsport/RP Motorsport.

Luís Sousa Ribeiro, who this time had at his side Ricardo Pereira in Ford Cortina Lotus, had a race "apart from the rest", having even run in the third place overall for a while, triumphing in the colourful GDS category. The fight for second place was much more exciting, with three cars battling until the chequered flag for the last two places on the podium. Second place went to the trio of José Carvalhosa/Nuno Nunes/Piero Dal Maso, who overtook the Lotus Elite of Robin Ellis and Paul O'Reilly with three laps to go, and the MG B Roadster of James Wheeler and Paul Rayment, who encountered problems and fell off the podium, on the very final lap.

João Mira Gomes and Nuno Afoito, in their usual Lotus Seven, the car that in 2014 won the 250km of Estoril, triumphed in the GTP & SC class.

Lotus triumphs in the Index of Performance

Robin Ellis returned to the Iberian Historic Endurance driving his Lotus Elite and repeated his triumph in the streets of Pau. However, as the English driver had already taken home an unit of the prestigious Swiss watchmaker Cuervo Y Sobrinos, it was the day's runners-up Martin Aubert and Adam Bruzas who received the coveted watch. The third place in this classification, which is not the first to cross the finish line, but the one who performs the best performance on track according to age, cylinder capacity and type of body of the car in which he competes, was the Porsche 356 B of Pedro Moriyon and José Carvalhosa.

Piero Dal Maso wins the 1000km Trophy

The victory in the 1000km Trophy, trophy given by the competition's organization to the driver or team with more consistent and more laps done in the complete season, ended up in the hands of Piero Dal Maso, with 262 completed laps, who drove throughout the season a Porsche 911 2.5 ST, a Porsche 911 SWB and a Shelby Mustang, all of them prepared by Garagem João Gomes. Vincent Tourneur (Porsche 911 SWB Roadster) was second, with 30 laps less, and Nuno Nunes (Porsche 911 SWB) was third.


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