Iberian Historic Enduring with an amazing 2021 opener!
40 beautiful examples of historic vehicles embellished the Autódromo Internacional de Portimão.
Carlos Barbot, Merlyn MK4, obtains Pole Position disputed to the tenth of a second
Martinez-Fuster wins inaugural 2021 race.
Under a splendid sun in Portimão, the 40 cars of the Iberian Historic Endurance received the first green flag of the year 2021. An enviable grid faced every uphill and downhill on the Algarve circuit. After the 40 minutes qualifying session, it was Carlos Barbot, in his always efficient Merlyn MK4, who set the fastest lap.
However, it was not an easy task for the pilot coming from Oporto, as until the last 10 minutes of the session there were 5 cars within the same second. That only showed one thing: for Race 1 the show was guaranteed!
Miguel Ferreira and Francisco Carvalho were the fastest to cover the almost 5 km on the Portimão track in the H71 category.
In the H65 category the powerful engines of the American cars occupied the top positions. With the Swiss team Burgol Racing preparing their cars in the best possible way. With an excellent preparation, the duo Neurrisse - Rouchaud, Fischer - Monay and Demole - Monay only had to worry about the perfect lap.
In the Gentleman Driver Spirit (GDS) the Ford Cortina Lotus of father and son Gama Rocha and Sousa Ribeiro occupied the first two positions followed by a Porsche 911 SWB of Nuno Nunes and José Carvalhosa
The clock was approaching 5pm when the traffic lights went out and the roar of the Iberian Historic Endurance engines echoed through the empty stands of the Autódromo de Portimão. The Historic Endurance season was officially opened.
Carlos Barbot started well, but two Porsches followed him: the duo Martinez-Fuster followed closely by Vaz/Soares. Miguel Lobo, who in this event was the only one in the H-INV category, had problems on the opening lap and fell to the back of the long grid. Bastos Rezende didn't have an easy start, as he decided not to line up with his De Tomaso Pantera and instead of the elegant Italian car, he drove a powerful Porsche 911 3.0 RS, which meant he had to start from last.
The American cars, Shelby Cobra 289 and Cobra Daytona, crewed by the likeable Neurrisse - Rochaud and Fischer - Monnay, were not intimidated by their debut in Portimao and got off to an equally good start.
The first laps in a 50 min race have little influence on the final result and this first race was no different. With a mandatory stop between 20 and 30 min, the scores were all mixed. All categories had several leaders.
In the GDS category, the family duo composed by father and son had a memorable debut, Luis Gama Rocha and Diogo Gama Rocha went around the 16 curves of the track driving the iconic Ford Cortina Lotus and won. The German Oldendorff and Hichert in their charming Alfa Romeo GTA made it to the second step of the podium but soon followed Nuno Nunes with his Porsche 911 SWB in the background.
In H1965, 3 participants led, all American models, but the victory was won by the duo Fischer - Monnay, followed by Demole - Monnay and Neurrisse - Rouchaud.
In H1971, the Ford Escort RS 1600 of Miguel Ferreira and Francisco Carvalho led almost all the race, but the British car couldn't handle the extreme heat coming from the brakes and from the asphalt and ended up crashing. However, who had no added challenges and crossed the finish line in first place was Domingos Sousa Coutinho and Ricardo Pereira, the duo assisted by RP Motorsport in BMW 2800 CS won and convinced. Piero dal Maso and José Carvalhosa, who, like Garcia-Garcia's third-placed team, drove a Porsche 2.5 ST, stood on the podium to lift the beautiful cups graciously offered by Gupe.
The first three to cross the finish line had much in common, the car and the category. There were three Porsche 911 3.0 RS in H76 tasting the sparkling wine. Alfredo Martinez and Jesus Fuster crossed the line and took the top spot on the podium. As mentioned before, it is not how you start but how you finish and with a recovery, at least adjectivated as, incredible Pedro Bastos Rezende used all his experience and knowledge of the track to climb the intermediate place of the podium. To finish this beautiful podium comes the lively and charismatic duo Carlos Brízido and João Pina Cardoso who drove the famous Porsche with the decoration Doutor Bayard to the third place of its category.
With 7 minutes to go, due to the presence of oil on the track, the race direction decided, for safety reasons, to prematurely end the debut race in 2021.
On Sunday 9 May, the various classic cars will face another 50-minute challenge where the only uncertainty is the weather.