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ELMS Returns to Portimão

ELMS - 08/10/2017 - Jeff CARTER

The Autódromo Internacional do Algarve opened for business in October 2008 and the Le Mans Series has raced on the 4.6km circuit once, holding the 1000km do Algarve on the 17 July 2010. The European Le Mans Series now returns to the Algarve seven years later with the season finale on Sunday 22 October, the 4 Hours of Portimão.

The 2010 race lasted just over 5 hours and 48 minutes with four classes on the 32 car grid.  The Le Mans Series featured LMP1 and LMP2 in the prototypes and LMGT1 and LMGT2 in the GT section. The 1000km do Algarve was won by the Team Oreca Matmut Peugeot 908 of Olivier Panis, Stephane Sarrazin and Nicolas Lapierre after completing 215 laps, five laps ahead of the second placed Rebellion Racing Lola of Nico Prost and 2016 FIA World Endurance Drivers Champion Neel Jani.

There are four drivers who raced in 2010 who will return to compete again in 2017. 

Three times 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP2 Champion, and 2010 race winner, Nicolas Lapierre races in the no21 Dragonspeed Oreca 07-Gibson.  Olivier Panis, who won the 2010 race in Portimão alongside Lapierre will not be racing but will, of course, be watching intently as the Team Principle of the Panis-Barthez Competition team.

In 2010 Matthieu Lahaye finished 4th in the LMP2 category alongside Onroak Automotive president Jacques Nicolet, whose company builds the Ligier JSP217 and JS P3 chassis.  While Nicolet will be also watching the 4 Hours of Portimão from the garage, Lahaye returns to the Algarve at the wheel of the no17 Ultimate Ligier-Nissan, and is currently 3rd in the LMP3 championship.

Reigning ELMS LMGTE Drivers Champion and 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans LMGTE Pro class winner Darren Turner was also on the grid in 2010. Turner was racing for the JMW Motorsport team, driving a LMGT2 class Aston Martin Vantage with fellow British driver Rob Bell, finishing the 1000km do Algarve in 4th place.  Darren Turner returns to the Algarve in the no99 Beechean AMR Aston Martin Vantage.

The final driver who took part in the 2010 race is Christian Ried.  The German raced the LMGT2 class Team Felbermayr Proton Porsche 997 to 5th place and Ried will be back in Portimão in the no77 Proton Competition Porsche 911.

The 4 Hours of Portimão will take place on Sunday 22 October and is the 6th and final round of the 2017 European Le Mans Series.

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