European Le Mans Series ran their last qualifying of the season at midday at the Portimao track in Portugal.
The ten GTE cars started the session.
There were two more cars in the class that wanted some extra practice before the season finale of FIA WEC in Bahrain in a fortnight. Those two were Gulf Racing Porsche #86 and AF Corse Ferrari #88.
Iron Lynx Ferrari #60 continued the good qualifying pace from the last race, where Andrea Picini set the fastest time, followed by the guest car #88.
Messages about Track Limits abuse popped continuously on the screen, amongst them were JMW Motorsport Ferrari #66 and Proton Competition #93.
After the short ten-minute qualifying, Iron Lynx Ferrari #60 with Andrea Piccini who snatched Pole Position, ahead of AF Corse Ferrari #88 with Alessio Rovera in P2, followed by Iron Lynx Ferrari #83 with Michelle Gatting, who had her best qualifying result in the ELMS to date.
The championship leader Kessel Racing Ferrari #74 only qualified in P7, while their only challenger, Proton Competition Porsche #77, was ahead of them in fourth.
After that, it was time for the twelve LMP3 cars to do their qualifying. Eleven of them came out to the track right away, while Eurointernational #11 waited for a couple of minutes to send Niko Kari out.
Malthe Jakobsen in RLR MSport #15 was the first person to set a fast time on the first flying lap. United Autosports #2 and DKR Engineering #4 beat that time on their next attempt as Jakobsen did a slower laptime.
Even though there were only twelve cars on the track, BHK Motorsport #16 and Graff #5 still ended up using the same stripe of tarmac and had a collision in Turn 6.
It turned out that all the cars set their best times on the second flying lap. The championship leader United Autosports #2 with Wayne Boyd took Pole Position, ahead of DKR Engineering #4 with Laurents Hörr, and RLR MSport #15 with Malthe Jakobsen.
Inter Europol Competition #13, who was second in the championship before the weekend, was all the way down to P10, eleven points from the lead.
Last but not least, the fourteen LMP2 cars came out to the track.
Panis Racing #31 was the first car to set a fast laptime, but it didn’t last long as United Autosports #32 did an even faster time.
The majority of the teams pitted for new tires, and it was reflected in the quicker laptimes.
G-Drive Racing #26 posted a fast time, but it got deleted due to Track Limits. The laptime, however, also got beaten by Cool Racing #37 with Nicolas Lapierre, who would start the race from P3, Will Stevens in Panis Racing #31, who would start second, and Job van Uitert who took Pole Position for United Autosports #32 – despite the latter had an off-track moment in the second free practice this morning, that gave the car a bit of damage.
With these results, Goodyear still hadn’t managed to beat Michelin in qualifying, before Goodyear overtaking the role as the sole tire supplier from 2021 onwards. Stevens in P2 was only 0,441 second from doing that.
The teams will have about twenty-two hours preparation time before the season finale, which can be streamed on YouTube at 12.00 CET tomorrow.