13 July, 2010
Le Mans Series: Round 3 – Portimao, Portugal
The 2010 Le Mans Series roars back into life this weekend after the traditional break that allows the LMS teams to enter the Le Mans 24 Hours. Round three takes place this Saturday at the Portimao track in the Algarve, Portugal, and after two hotly-contested races at Paul Ricard and Spa the teams are all eager to continue the 2010 LMS battle.
Andrew Kirkaldy and Tim Mullen have just returned from an International GT Open weekend at Spa where they were competing against each other in the CRS Ferraris. In the Le Mans Series they are team-mates and they have proved they have to speed to get the top results. They just need a little luck to go their way.
“We were pretty unlucky in the first two Le Mans Series races,” said Mullen. “We were in contention for a good result at Ricard and we had a driveshaft problem and then at Spa! we were leading when all the lights went out and the timing failed! We have shown that we have the pace and I know if we have a clean race we’ll be right up there with a good result. It’s good to race at Portimao as the track is interesting, especially with the undulations. It’s a fun challenge to go to a track we don’t know inch-by-inch.”
Phil Quaife drives the No.90 CRS Ferrari, along with Pierre Ehret and Pierre Kaffer. He actually had a run in the No.91 car recently though when he took it up the hill at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.
“Goodwood was amazing,” he said. “I was there anyway as I had the honour of driving the Toleman F1 car – Ayrton Senna’s first Grand Prix car – so it was a nice surprise to be asked to take the Ferrari up the hill too. We ran the Ferrari at full volume too so the crowd loved it! Portimao is a particular favourite of mine. We had a great weekend there last year in FIA GT3; I qualified fourth and then ran in second for my whole stint. The competition is tough in LMS so realistically we want to finish in the top six but if we can challenge for the podium that would be great. We took fourth at Ricard so we nearly made it. On a personal level I will continue to use Pierre Kaff! er as my benchmark. He is one of the top GT drivers and we are in the same car so if I can match his pace then I’ll know I’m doing okay.”
The “1000kms do Algarve” is a night race so it takes place this Saturday night, with racing getting underway at 1700hrs local time and running into the darkness. Eurosport’s listings are currently showing very limited coverage for this weekend but check listings on the day and remember that you can always follow the live timing at www.lemans-series.com.