August 1, 2021
WEC

Portimao WEC: Alpine beats Toyotas to maiden pole

LMP2 teams swept practice for the 8 Hours of Portimao, but the hypercars surged to the top when it mattered the most, with the gap between the two classes nearly nine tenths of a second in qualifying.

Matthieu Vaxiviere claimed the top spot by less than a tenth of a second from the best of the Toyotas in the hands of Brendon Hartley. 

Vaxiviere set the initial pace aboard the solo Alpine A480-Gibson LMP1 car, but needed a second run on a fresh set of tyres to secure the pole thanks to a big improvement from Hartley in the #8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid.

The Kiwi had languished down in fifth in the times behind the best of the LMP2s after his first run, but his second run would have given him the the pole had not Vaxiviere not found just over a tenth.

Vaxiviere ended up on a 1m30.364s, which compared with 1m36.458s for Hartley. 

Mike Conway was initially just a fraction behind the Alpine with a 1m30.540s, but the Brit failed to improve on his second run in the #7 Toyota and dropped to third. 

The new Glickenhaus 007 LMH ended up only 11th in the times behind seven LMP2 cars despite an improvement to 1m32.167s from Richard Westbrook on his second run. 

That was a couple of tenths slower than the Brit had managed in final free practice on the way to fourth in the times ahead of the two Toyotas.

Tom Blomqvist came out on top in intra-team battle at JOTA for the LMP2 pole. 

The Briton initially trailed teammate Antonio Felix da Costa, but both went for second runs aboard their Oreca 07-Gibsons in the short 10-minute session. 

Blomqvist found a couple of tenths to get down to a 1m31.210s, while Da Costa didn’t improve on his first run time of 1m31.255s. 

Job van Uitert took third in P2 and first in the Pro/Am sub-class aboard Racing Team Nederland’s Oreca courtesy of a 1m31.545s. 

Paul di Resta took fourth for reigning P2 champion team United Autosports despite multiple track-limits violations. The Scot managed to get down to a 1m31.598s, which put him just ahead of Robin Frijns in the WRT Oreca.

Porsche driver Kevin Estre made it two poles in two races in GTE Pro. 

The Frenchman’s 1m37.986s lap aboard his factory Porsche 911 RSR-19 put him three tenths clear of James Calado’s AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo. 

Calado’s 1m38.359s lap gave him a slender margin of just three hundredths over Gianmaria Bruni in the second of the Porsches. 

Daniel Serra ended up fourth in the times in the second Ferrari: the Brazilian initially lost his only lap to a  track limits violation and before the time was reinstated.

Egidio Perfetti jumped ahead of Christian Ried in an all-Porsche battle for pole in GTE Am right at the end of 10-minute session for GT machinery.

The WEC 8 Hours of Portimao starts on Sunday June 13 at 11:00 local time (+1 GMT) and will be streamed live on Motorsport.tv.

Hypercar and LMP2 results:

GTE results:

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