The Iberian Historic Endurance season kicked off at the Algarve Welcome Spring meeting in Portimão when more than 30 cars took to the tarmac of the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve to participate in their first race of the year, with Pedro Bastos Rezende’s impressive De Tomaso Pantera and Paulo Lima’s newcomer Ford GT40 sharing the front row. The blue and red striped Porsche 911 2.8 RS, crewed by Vasco Nina/Mário Meireles, was also among the contenders, along with the powerful “guest” Shelby Cobra Daytona of Miguel Lobo.
Though Rezende lost a place to Lima’s GT40 at the start, the De Tomaso driver quickly restored the order and managed his lead to the end, repeating last year’s triumph at this same track, and winning the H-1976 class.
Having fun with the debut of their Shelby in Historic Endurance, Brice Pineau/Olivier Muytjens won the H-1965 category ahead of the Lotus Elan of fellow debutant Carlos Oliveira and the returnee Francisco Albuquerque.
In the Gentleman Driver Spirit (GDS) class, Nuno Nunes stood out in timed practice and kept up the pace in the 50-minute race. The Porsche 911 SWB crossed the finish line ahead of Michel Mora’s identical car.
Rezende confirmed his status with another victory in the second race on Sunday, but the race was not without its challenges. The De Tomaso lost five positions at the start, with the Porsche 911 3.0 RS of Claudio Vieira/Bruno Santos seizing on the Italian car’s weakness to grab the lead, followed by the Porsche of Nina/ Meireles and the Ford GT40 of Paulo Lima. Lima began to lose ground to the others two laps later and eventually retired. With lively battles going on in front of him, Rezende needed only three laps to get back to second place, and just two more to overtake the green Porsche of the leaders. Another setback came when a longer pit-stop demoted the De Tomaso back into second and Rezende had to catch up again.
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