The 2022 Estoril Classics, the sixth edition of the event, ended this Sunday under the aegis of great races that gripped the many spectators who came to the Autódromo Estoril and firmly stayed until the chequered flag of the last race.
Once again the Classic GP Portugal Sotheby's Realty offered an extraordinary show to the vast public that dressed the stands of the Estoril circuit, on a day that saw the second F1 car race of the event thrilling everyone in the grandstands.
Nick Padmore, in a Lotus 87B Ford Cosworth DFV, after yesterday's win, was the big favourite to win today's race, as he started from pole-position, but it was eagerly anticipated what Martin O'Connell, in a Williams FW07C Ford Cosworth DFV, could do.
Padmore took the lead at the start, while O'Connell launched a blazing recovery that saw him take second place in just three laps, but five seconds behind the Lotus 87B.
However, the Williams FW07C driver set a devilish pace, consistently gaining time on his rival and leaving the crowd in suspense as to whether a duel for victory could be on the cards.
The two contenders were separated by just three seconds but Padmore stepped up the pace to take his Lotus to victory over the Williams of O'Connell, who set the fastest lap of the race.
In third place was the Lotus 91 of Steve Brooks which managed to finish this afternoon's race despite some gearbox problems.
Marc Devis, in the Lotus 77 Ford Cosworth DFV, was involved in an intense battle with the Ligier JS11/15 Ford Cosworth DFV of Mr. John Of B and the Surtees T59 Ford Cosworth DFV of Ewen Sergison, which helped to excite the fans in the stands throughout the race. In the end he crossed the line in sixth position, triumphing in Class A - reserved for cars built to the end of 1979 and without a ground effect or flat bottom.
The top three were after the race satisfied with the result and especially with the event. "I drove at a crazy pace. Martin was very fast and it was very difficult to keep the distance. I want to thank my team, who did a fantastic job and the crowd, who are fantastic," said Padmore.
O'Connell admits his expectations to win were low, but he was pleased with his ride, emphasising the event. "Starting last was tough, but I had nothing to lose either. I pushed hard and I am very satisfied with my ride, it was a great race and Nick was also very strong. This is a fabulous circuit and a fantastic event. I'll be back next year," said the driver of the Williams FW07C.
Brooks was also in tune, underlining the quality of Estoril Classics. "What a great weekend... I had gearbox problems, but I managed to finish and on the podium. This event is fabulous and in 2023 I will be here again," stressed the driver of the Lotus 91.
The races that also delighted the public
Even before Formula 1, the day began with the roar of twenty-one Porsche flat-sixes racing in the 2.0 Litre Cup.
Over two hours of racing, the 911's engines echoed through the Estoril circuit, cheering on the already present crowd with eye-catching power slides as their drivers tried to tame them. Andrew Smith / Oliver Bryant were the strongest, but were closely pursued by Matthew Holme, who took second place twelve seconds behind the winners.
With cars from the sixties, the large audience already present at the oldest permanent Portuguese circuit could witness a time jump to follow the most recent machines present at Estoril Classics - the Endurance Racing Legends.
Christian Glasel, in his MG-Lola EX257 ex-Team Dyson started from pole-position, but some technical issues delayed him decisively and he was out of contention for the win. The win went to Mike Newton, also in an MG-Lola EX257.
The prototypes and GTs of the late 1990s and early 1900s gave way to what is probably the most valuable starting grid of the entire event, that of The Greatest's Trophy.
The Ferrari 250 GT SWB and Jaguar Type D are two benchmarks in this field, valued together at over thirty million euros, but it was Christian Schoedel's imposing Bizarrini 5300 GT that took victory over Yves Vogele's efficient Porsche 904/6.
The Heritage Touring Cup was dominated by the Capri RS3100. The German-prepared cars of the American manufacturer gave their rivals no chance and monopolised the podium positions.
The spectacular touring cars that marked the racetracks from the 1960s to the 1980s delighted all those who came to the Estoril circuit, with Maxime Guenat one step ahead of the competition, allowing him to climb onto the top step of the podium in the company of Emile Breittmayer and Armand Mille.
The Lola T70 is a car that has an enviable curriculum, with triumphs in the most acclaimed worldwide stages, among which Vila Real, and this year it imposed itself again in Portugal by winning the Classic Endurance Racing 1 of Estoril Classics, which was the race that followed in Sunday's programme.
Armand Mille took victory in the one-hour race, beating Emmanuel Brigand and Rolf Sigrist, both in Chevron B19s, who were not far behind the impressive Lola.
2022 Estoril Classics came to an end with the Iberian Historic Endurance race, the most prestigious classic car series in the Iberian Peninsula, which kept the public in attendance until the end of the event.
After yesterday's qualifying, during which the duo Lars Rolner / Patrick Simon made their best experience prevail over the competition, today the Porsche 911 3.0 RS with Martini Racing colours repeated that dominance, finishing ahead of the Lotus Elan 26R of the duo Carlos Barbot/Pedro Matos and the Porsche 911 3.0 RS of Bruno Duarte/Filipe Jesus.
With an event where all tickets sold out and more people than ever, both in the paddock and in the stands, expectations are now turning to the 2023 edition, hoping it can be even better than this year's.