Gläsel beats the Peugeots in second Masters Endurance Legends race at Portimão
Despite a five-second time penalty for leaving the car on its jacks after the five-minute board, Christian Gläsel was the hero of the season-closing Masters Endurance Legends race at the Algarve Classic Festival, as the German powered his Pescarolo-Judd 01 past the Peugeots to claim a well-earned victory. Saturday’s winner Kriton Lendoudis led for three quarters of the race before his Peugeot 908 was passed by Gläsel, with Steve Brooks taking third in the Peugeot 90X.
“I didn’t know that, I feel quite lucky!” said Gläsel straight after the race. “Kriton was leading the whole way, driving superclean, but then he had a backmarker that was hard to pass – that was the only chance I had to overtake him.”
Lendoudis agreed with that. “Leading most of the race is not enough! I badly lost out in traffic towards the end. I had a bad moment with a backmarker and he found the space to pass me. After he got me, I had more traffic issues, but that’s how it goes. It was still good.”
Richard Meins in the other 90X initially powered up the field to challenge Brooks for third but dropped away to allow Olivier Galant’s HPD-Honda ARX-03a to snatch fourth. Stuart Wiltshire was in command in the P2 class, his Ligier JSP2 leading all the way from Mike Newton’s older MG-Lola-AER EX257.
“Yes, Richard came up behind me”, said Brooks of Meins’ initial challenge, “but then I pulled away from him and he disappeared. It was hard racing today, conditions were quite tricky – it was on the edge all of the time because of the damp patches still remaining on the track. It was quite slippery in some places.”
Behind the invitational Ligier-Nissan JSP3-20 of Lee Mowle/Phil Keen, the Craig Davies/Ron Maydon (Ligier-Nissan JSP3) pairing beat the similarly equipped duo of Stephan Joebstl/Andy Willis to ninth overall and last-gap overall title glory for Maydon. Meanwhile, in GTs, Jason Wright (Ferrari 458 GT3) doubled up with another win over the 458 GTE of Xavier Galant.
“What can I say?” Wright said about duly taking a pair of comfortable class wins. “I love the car, I love the track, but I spent a lot of time being in the way of the faster prototypes!”
Following overnight rain, the track still contained wet patches, but for the first time in the weekend, the day started out with a clear blue sky, as the Masters Endurance Legends field geared up for its second race at the Algarve Classic Festival. After a safety-car start to allow drivers to become acquainted with the last remaining wet spots, Lendoudis and Brooks powered away, but the latter was immediately chased hard by Gläsel’s Pescarolo 01, with Wiltshire up next, with Olivier Galant in the HPD in hot pursuit of the P2 Ligier.
On lap 4, Lendoudis still led, but now had Gläsel powering on behind him, the German having left Brooks five seconds behind. Richard Meins coming from the back in the third Peugeot, had moved past Galant’s HPD and subsequently Wiltshire’s Ligier to be fourth, and his pace was such that he soon was on the gearbox of Brooks in the sister 90X. Mowle was seventh in the invitational JSP3-20, immediately followed by Mike Newton’s MG-Lola EX257, Craig Davies in the P3-class-leading Ligier JSP3, with Alan Purbrick (Lola B12/60) and Mike Furness (Courage LC75) up next. Jason Wright once again led the GT class from Xavier Galant, Ferrari 458 GT3 ahead of the GTE-spec 458.
Approaching the pit window, Lendoudis in the 908 held a three-second lead over Gläsel, who had left the other two Peugeots behind by eight seconds, Brooks still ahead of Meins. After six laps of trying, however, Galant Jr’s HPD ARX-03a had finally vaulted Wiltshire’s Ligier JSP2 to take fifth, with the rest of the order remaining unchanged. Stephan Joebstl was the first to visit the pits for his mandatory stop, handing the Ligier JSP3 over to Andy Willis to allow the Austro-English pair a shot at the P3 class title in their direct match-up with Craig Davies and Ron Maydon in the other JSP3. Brooks went in with him.
Gläsel was the next one to pit, just as Lendoudis set fastest lap of the race while the rest of the field also left it late. On lap 10, Galant (O.) and Wiltshire pitted simultaneously, and Newton followed them in, along with Davies (Maydon waiting to take over) and Purbrick (handing the wheel of the B12/60 to David Brise), with Furness also coming in on the same lap. Mowle and Wright pitted on lap 11, Mowle’s car remaining stuck in the pits for too long, and the pair were followed by the leader at the start of lap 12, who now held a 16-second gap over Meins. Along with Xavier Galant, Meins carried on for one more lap to be on the cusp of the pit window ending before making their stop, Galant in fact overstaying his welcome on the track.
After all the stops, Lendoudis led Gläsel by a mere 2.5 seconds but then the news came in that the German was handed a five-second time penalty for not having the car still on its jacks after the five-minute board. Brooks and Meins still warred over third place, over 20 seconds down on the Greek in the lead, while Galant (O.) now had seven seconds in hand over Wiltshire in sixth. Further back, David Brise was on the way up, now chasing Newton for seventh overall. Maydon was ninth while his P3 rival Willis was still 13th.
With less than ten minutes to go, Lendoudis once again upped his pace to record another fastest lap of the race, but Gläsel stayed close enough in his mirrors to be worried despite that five-second penalty. In fact, on the next lap, the German cut back the deficit with a full second and was soon all over the 908. On lap 12, with five minutes remaining on the clock, Gläsel hit the lead. Behind them, Brooks had shaken off the attentions of Meins to go 13 seconds clear of the other 90X, while further back, Brise had indeed passed Newton for seventh, but on the next lap was seen returning to the pits.
With the bit between his teeth, Gläsel sneaked out to a 3.9-second lead on lap 20, a gap that now would have been worrying to Lendoudis. And on lap 21, the German had indeed done enough to undo his penalty, leading the Greek by 5.7 ticks. Two more laps remained, and Gläsel used them to create a nine-second gap that was big enough to hold on to the win. Two Peugeots were next, Lendoudis ahead of Brooks, as Olivier Galant passed the ailing 90X of Richard Meins to snatch fourth right at the end. Wiltshire was sixth and the P2 class winner ahead of Mike Newton, while Mowle/Keen bagged eighth. Maydon beat Willis to ninth overall and the P3 class win, while Furness took 11th. Jason Wright repeated Saturday’s form by claiming another GT win from Xavier Galant.
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