8H Portimao: Alpine lead, JOTA mirror 1-2 prior to pit stops at halfway point

The #36 Alpine Elf Matmut of Matthieu Vaxiviere leads an action-packed 8 Hours of Portimao after four hours of action, with four more to go.

The drama of the first two hours was added by more action as the race approached its halfway point at the Autodromo Internacional Algarve.

Further issues of blistering still plagued the GTE squads as they looked to manage the tyres in 50 degree Celsius track temperatures.

Reports so far:

The #709 Glickenhaus Racing which had contact at the Turn 5 hairpin with the #77 and #777 was in the garage after the clutch was damaged and a one-hour replacement time.

Additionally, they were awarded a 10 second stop-and-go penalty

At two hours and 16 minutes, team orders at Toyota were enforced to swap the #7 in front of the #8 as the chase to the swift Alpine tensed up.

Almost 10 minutes afterwards, the #777 pulled over at Turn 4 to become the first retirement of the race. A damaged radiator from their #709 impact caused the radiator temperature to climb.

In GTE-Am, Giancarlo Fisichella in the #54 made an opportunistic pass on the #47 Cetilar Racing after the #33 was not able to move out of their class leader’s battle.

Meanwhile, the #31 received their second drive-through penalty after they disrespected the blue flag rules.

At two hours and 41 minutes, the #77 which was involved in the Glickenhaus Racing contact soon succumbed to its rear-left impact and became the second retirement of the race.

Whilst GTE-Am settled, LMP2 heated up after Ferdinand Habsburg in the #31 fought their way past the #34 for second place overall despite the penalties.

Into the fourth hour, the #1 Richard Mille Racing recovered from a brief spin in the hands of Tatiana Calderon. A chase, and an overtake, from the Mathias Beche in the #70 commenced prior as they battled each other in the middle of the LMP2 order.

At three hours and nine minutes to go, the #709 made it back out with Romain Dumas behind the wheel of the SCG 007 LMH.

The two Toyotas were separated by 0.5s as they dualed for P2 and P3, until a team order swapped the #7 to lead the #8 at Turn 5.

In GTE-Pro, Porsche’s earlier tyre worries were starting to become a reality as they struggled against the AF Corse Ferraris; the #51 extending their lead in the hands of Alessandro Pier Guidi.

Alpine lead ahead of the pit stop cycles for them as Toyota continued to put on the pressure.

1 #36 Alpine Elf Matmut [HYPERCAR]
2 #7 Toyota GAZOO Racing [HYPERCAR]
3 #8 Toyota GAZOO Racing [HYPERCAR
4 #28 JOTA [LMP2]
5 #38 JOTA [LMP2]
6 #22 United Autosports [LMP2]
7 #31 Team WRT [LMP2]
8 #34 Inter Europol Competition (Pro/Am) [LMP2]
9 #29 Racing Team Nederland [LMP2]
10 #20 High Class Racing [LMP2]
11 #70 Realteam Racing (Pro/Am) [LMP2]
12 #1 Richard Mille Racing [LMP2]
13 #21 DragonSpeed USA (Pro/Am) [LMP2]
14 #44 ARC Bratislava (Pro/Am) [LMP2]
15 #51 AF Corse [GTE-PRO]
16 #52 AF Corse [GTE-PRO]
17 #92 Porsche GT Team [GTE-PRO]
18 #91 Porsche GT Team [GTE-PRO]
19 #98 Aston Martin Racing [GTE-AM]
20 #47 Cetilar Racing [GTE-AM]
21 #54 AF Corse [GTE-AM]
22 #57 Kessel Racing [GTE-AM]
23 #85 Iron Lynx [GTE-AM]
24 #56 Team Project 1 [GTE-AM]
25 #60 Iron Lynx [GTE-AM]
26 #86 GR Racing [GTE-AM]
27 #33 TF Sport [GTE-AM]
28 #88 Dempsey-Proton Racing [GTE-AM]
29 #83 AF Corse [GTE-AM]
30 #709 Glickenhaus Racing [HYPERCAR]
31 #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing [GTE-AM] *DNF
32 #777 D’station Racing [GTE-AM] *DNF