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2022 Estoril Classics
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Season finale
For the third year, the Circuito Estoril was the host of the Peter Auto season finale. It was a very full season of racing but there were still plenty of drivers that ventured to Portugal to experience one more weekend of summer and the lovely, undulating Estoril circuit. With the exception of the Group C category, which had merged with the Endurance Racing Legends for this weekend, all the familiar Peter Auto grids were on hand. That meant the Portuguese fans were treated to sports racers and touring cars from the fifties through to the 2000s. As an added bonus, there were two races for three-litre Formula 1 cars and a round of the Iberian Historic Endurance series. In the paddock there was also plenty to see for the spectators with displays featuring one of the oldest cars registered for the road in Portugal, shown alongside a modern Aston Martin V12 Vantage for contrast.
Although the action started a day early, we were at the Circuito Estoril throughout the Estoril Classics with this class-by-class 200-shot gallery as the result.

Sixties' Endurance
Thanks to a last minute change in the schedule, the two-hour Sixties' Endurance race ran into the sunset on Saturday evening. The 47-strong grid kicked off the action Thursday afternoon with a free-practice session. Qualifying followed on Friday and was very hotly disputed. From this season, aggregate times are used when a car is shared by two drivers but that did not stop the first six cars all qualifying within eight tenths of a second. Fastest of all was the bright blue Cobra shared by Leon Ebeling and Andy Newall. The young German took an early lead over Guillaume Mahe in the Cobra that had started from second. Following the mandatory pit stop, it was Maxime Guenat who emerged in the lead in the Cobra that he had taken over from Mahe. He made no mistakes and drove the Equipe Europe prepared machine to a solid victory. Behind him, there was a close battle between Patrick Simon and Harvey Stanley in a pair of Cobras. In the end, it was Stanley who emerged in second, after passing Simon in lap 52 of 55. The hotly disputed GT2 category was won by local heroes Carlos Barbot and Pedro Matos in a Lotus Elan 26R.

Classic Endurance Racing
The two Classic Endurance Racing (CER1) races are always among the highlights of the Peter Auto weekend. With 32 cars, the earlier CER1 had a particularly strong field. In qualifying, it was Toni Seiler who managed to capture pole position with a clear advantage in his Lola T70 Mk3B. Sadly, issues on the opening lap meant that it was the glorious Porsche 908/03 of Henrique de Gemperle and Marc de Siebenthal that completed the opening lap in first position. Behind the Martini-liveried machine, it was Armand Mille in another Lola that was moving up the order. Starting sixth, he eventually grabbed the lead on lap 17 and managed to convert it in a well deserved victory. The GT1 class was won by Ralf Kelleners in a DeTomaso Pantera.
Amazingly, the CER2 grid featured an all TOJ top three with Yves Scemama setting the fastest time of all in his three-litre engined car. Sadly, he did not make it to the finish in what was a messy race. This was the result of a safety car period right in the pit window. This saw long-time leader Maxime Guenat drop down to eighth. After a remarkable recovery run, he managed to grab the lead back on lap 30 of 32 and score a hard-fought win with his Lola T286. In GT2, it was the Warsteiner liveried BMW M1 Procar of Sebastian Glaser which came out on top.

Classic Formula 1
With the Circuito Estoril best known internationally as the host of many Portuguese Grands Prix, it was only fitting that especially for this event a pair of Pre-1986 Formula 1 races were added to the roster. In qualifying, the fifteen-car strong field was headed by Nick Padmore in a Lotus 87B Cosworth, who very narrowly beat Martin O'Connell in Williams FW07B Cosworth. Among the other interesting cars in the field were the V12-engined Alfa Romeo 182 F1 of Richard Hope and the freshly restored Ligier JS21 Cosworth driven by Soheil Ayari.
Sadly, we were not treated to a fight between Padmore and O'Connell as the Williams proved tempestuous. Padmore made no mistake and scored a comfortable win over Laurent Fort in an Ensign and Steve Brooks in another Lotus. Ewen Sergison won the 'A' class for slightly earlier cars in his Surtees.
During the second race, the FW07B did work properly but O'Connell still did not manage to challenge the very quick Padmore. That meant it was two for two for the Lotus 87B. There was more JPS Lotus success as it was Marc Devis who won the 'A' class with Type 78.

Further highlights
Now a set fixture at Peter Auto events, the Endurance Racing Legends field for recent sports prototypes and GT cars provided a pair of spectacular races at Estoril. Despite missing the first of two qualifying sessions, it was Christian Gläsel, who grabbed pole position in his ex-Dyson Racing MG-Lola EX257 ahead of Mike Newton in a sister car. During the first race, Gläsel made no mistakes and took a clean win. Finishing fourth overall, Sebastian Glaser and Patrick Simon were the fastest in GT with their Porsche 911 GT2. During the second race, the Gläsel MG-Lola failed to restart at the pit stop, which allowed Mike Newton to score a well deserved win in the MG-Lola that he had also raced in period. Glaser and Simon were now third overall with the Porsche.
Having already scored two wins out of two, Maxime Guenat started the Heritage Touring Cup race on pole position with his Ford Capri RS 3100. He grabbed the lead on the opening lap and simply did not look back. Having lead every lap, he scored a commanding win, making him very much the man of the weekend. Padmore also added one more win to his tally by securing the Group A honours in the BMW 635 CSi he shared with Jean-Lou Rihon.

Final thoughts
After two editions where access was hampered by Covid restrictions, the third Estoril Classics was now fully open to the public. The fans made the most of the opportunity with a packed paddock and grand stands as a result. They were treated to a great show throughout the weekend with non-stop action from Thursday afternoon through to Sunday evening. Perhaps the best news of all is that we will be back at Estoril for the 2023 season finale. To ease the wait, we encourage you to explore our 200-shot gallery.


Report by Wouter Melissen and images by Wouter Melissen and Pieter Melissen for Ultimatecarpage.com