United Autosports took pole position for the 4 Hours of Portimão, the final round of the 2019 European Le Mans Series, when Filipe Albuquerque put in a 1:31.244 around the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve on his fifth lap.
Joining the #22 United Autosports ORECA on the front row of the grid will be the #21 DragonSpeed ORECA driven by Ben Hanley who put in a 1:31.312 in the car he shares with Henrik Hedman and James Allen.
Completing the top three for Sunday’s race, the final round of the 2019 European Le mans Series will be the #23 Panis-Barthez Compétition ORECA in which Will Stevens lapped in 1:31.848.
LMP2 championship leader G-Drive Racing could only manage eighth on the grid after Jean-Éric Vergne left the garage in the closing minutes to set a 1:47.796 on his second lap.
Qualifying got underway with the eight-car LMGTE field as five Ferrari F488 GTE Evos competed against a three-car Porsche 911 RSR grid.
Matteo Cairoli set the early pace with a 1:41.121 in the #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche followed by the sister #88 Porsche, Thomas Preining at the wheel, a little of half a second behind. Preining improved to just .121 seconds behind and the top three were completed by the #60 Kessel Racing Ferrari driven by Andrea Piccini who set a 1:41.253.
Cairoli was delighted to take his fourth class pole position of the season.
“It was a really good lap – I really enjoyed it,” said Matteo Cairoli. “I put everything together with the first set of tyres. I was not able to improve with the second one. The car was really a pleasure to drive. I’m saying the same thing every time but it’s thanks to the team. Every time the car fits me properly, the way I want all the time so it’s a big thanks to them that they are doing a big job.”
LMP3 qualifying got underway with Mathieu Lahaye setting a 1:40.007 in the #17 Ultimate Norma M 30.
The session ran uninterrupted and, when the chequered flag fell, it was the #19 M Racing Norma on the class pole position, the time set by Lucas Légeret in the car he shares with Laurent Millara. David Droux, piloting the #9 Realteam Racing Norma will join Légeret on the front row of the class grid.
Légeret, who took his third class pole position of 2019, was delighted with pole but was looking forward to the race on Sunday October 27.
“It’s pretty amazing,” said Légeret. “We have a super-fast car and take pole again here at Portimão, it’s been an amazing day so far. We’re hoping for the best (in the race). We have not snatched a podium (this season) so we hope we can end the season with a podium.”
As qualifying got underway for the LMP2 category, there was disappointment for the #35 BHK Motorsport ORECA with Sergio Camapana at the wheel as it pulled off the circuit with four and a half minutes left to run in the session.
Championship leader G-Drive Racing left it late in the session to get out on track and Jean-Éric Vergne, at the wheel of the #26 Aurus-01 left the pit lane with less than four minutes left in the session.
As the session ran down to the final two minutes, DragonSpeed stood at the top of the timing screens after Ben Hanley had lapped the #21 ORECA in 1:31.312.
There was drama involving the #34 Inter Europol Competition Ligier JSP21 with Mathias Beche at the wheel and the #31 Algarve Pro Racing ORECA driven by Henning Enqvist when contact between the two resulted in spins for both cars.
The 4 Hours of Portimão gets underway at 12:30 local time on Sunday October 27.