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Finale At Estoril! – European Le Mans Series Round Six – Preview (18.10.16)

The 2016 European Le Mans Series reaches a conclusion on October 23 with the sixth and final round at Circuito do Estoril in Portugal.

10 LMP2 cars will take to the grid this weekend, three less than at Round Five at Spa-Francorchamps. Missing for the 4 Hours of Estoril will be the #25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2, piloted by Michael Munemann, Jonathan Hirschi and Andrea Pizzitola in Belgium. Also absent will be the #47 Team WRT Ligier JS P2 and the #48 Murphy Prototypes ORECA 03R.

Only one driver change has been announced. Léo Roussel will take the place of Rémy Striebig in the #29 Pegasus Racing Nissan-powered Morgan.

In the LMP3 class the #26 Tockwith Motorsports entry will be missing for Estoril. However Eurointernational returns with its pair of Ligier JS P3s to put 19 LMP3 cars on the grid for the final round. In the #11 Eurointernational entry Giorgio Mondini and Jay Palmer will share the driving duties with a third driver to be announced. The #12 Eurointernational entry will be driven by Rik Breukers and Andrea Dromedari with, again, a third driver to be announced.

There is only one driver change in the LMGTE field. Benjamin Barker will replace Matteo Cairoli in the #88 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR 991.

Yet again, this most competitive of series goes down to the final round at a circuit where the weather can change rapidly, presenting constant challenge over the course of an endurance race. Only one class has been decided – that of LMP3 where United Autosports wrapped up the class at the previous round.

In LMP2, however, only 24 points separates the top three teams with Thiriet by TDS Racing leading the class on 92 points, G-Drive Racing second on 78 points and SMP Racing on 68.

Following its LMP2 class win at the 6 Hours of Fuji a week ago, G-Drive Racing will arrive at Estoril full of confidence but knowing that the Portugese circuit has been the scene of some its biggest frustrations in the ELMS. Thiriet by TDS Racing has raced strongly all year and will have set its sights on securing the ELMS crown come Sunday night. It promises to be a fascinating and close-fought race.

In LMGTE the #66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari F458 Italia leads the standings on 93 points, 20 points ahead of the #99 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage. Although a healthy lead, never under-estimate the resolve of the #99 crew and Andrew Howard, Darren Turner and Alex MacDowell. The all-British driver line-up will bring huge amounts of determination and experience to the grid and will fight to the last lap.

Round Six of the 2016 European Le Mans Series promises sportscar racing at its very finest and should not be missed. Practice begins on Friday October 21 at 14:50 local time. Qualifying is on Saturday October 22, starting at 12:45 with the lights going out for the start of the 4 Hours of Estoril at 13:30 local time on Sunday October 23.