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Exciting qualifying for the Classic GP by Portugal Sotheby's Realty at Estoril Classics

The engines started roaring this Friday at the Estoril circuit, officially kicking off the 6th edition of Estoril Classics, with an exciting Classic GP by Portugal Sotheby's Realty qualifying session.

Great duels between Lotus and Williams are part of the "Our Autodrome" history, the one that most comes to mind being is the one that happened in 1986, when Ayrton Senna, in his car decorated with JPS colours, beat Nigel Mansell, in a Frank Williams' car, by 0.8s.

This Friday there was again a duel between cars from these two Formula 1 manufacturers, with two cars from each of them monopolising the first two rows of the grid for the first race of the weekend.

In an intense battle between Nick Padmore's Lotus 87B and Martin O'Connell's Williams FW07B, both were passing through the top of the timesheets until the driver of Hethel's car beat his opponent from the Didcot-built single-seater (Williams moved to Grove only in 1994) by only 0.094s, which clearly shows the competitiveness experienced this afternoon at the Autódromo do Estoril.

Next up were Steve Brooks in the Lotus 91 and Mark Hazell in the Williams FW08C, but both could not keep pace with the two frontrunners.

In Class A, reserved for cars built up to the end of 1979 and with no ground effect or flat bottom, it was Jamie Constable's Embassy Lola T370 that took the lead, beating Marc Devis' Lotus 78 by just 0.741s, showing how competitive the qualifying session had been this afternoon.

The first race of the Classic GP by Portugal Sotheby’s Realty takes place tomorrow at 12:45 (local time) with live streaming broadcast on the event social media channels.

Le Mans-style Hors d’Oeuvre

Besides the Formula 1 cars, five other competitions had their qualifying sessions on Friday to set the starting grids for their respective races in this year's edition of Estoril Classics.

In Classic Endurance Racing 2, Toj automaker was in the spotlight, with three cars from this former raicng cars manufacturer in the first three places of the timesheet, with Yves Scemama leading the armada of German prototypes.

Mike Newton's MG-Lola EX257 prototype stood out amongst the Endurance Racing Legends competitors in first qualifying, beating the best of the Group C prototypes, the Olmas GLT 200 of Bertrand Rouchaud / Antoine Weil, by a comfortable margin.

In the second qualifying, it was a similar car that got the best of it, but this time driven by Christian Glazel, placing two MG-Lolas in the first two positions.

Lotus was again in the spotlight in Fifties Legends, with Serge Kriknoff placing his XI 1500 in the category pole-position.

Bizarrini was on a roll in The Greatest's Trophy, taking the first two places. Dirk Ebeling / Leon Ebeling imposed their imposing 5300 GT on the similar car of Christian Bouriez.

Andrew Newall, in a Shelby Cobra 289, was the strongest in the Sixties' Endurance, but he had to contend with Maxime Guenat, also driving a grandiose American GT prepared by Carroll Shelby, both have finished the session separated by an unimpressive margin of 0.050s.

There is plenty of track action to follow today from 9:00am at Estoril circuit, and a paddock full of memorable machinery.

Photos Copyright @ Eduardo Fernandes

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