Vincent Abril put in a star turn in difficult, wet conditions in the Le Mans Cup, taking victory in the final race of the season at Portimão, in the Iron Lynx Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2.
Once again partnering with Hiroshi Hamaguchi, the pair built up to the pace through practice before the Japanese racer performed well in qualifying, finishing second quickest and giving the duo a real chance of success in the 100-minute race.
With the weather turning again on Sunday morning, the decision was made by race control to start the race behind the Safety Car, with almost 30 minutes under controlled pace before the field was released. Hamaguchi started well and closed in on the GT3 class leader, less than a second behind before the mandatory pit stops.
Making the call to stay out one lap longer than their rivals, the team sent Vincent out not only in the lead of GT3 but 11th overall, ahead of some LMP3 class machinery. Setting rapid lap times to increase his lead, there was a Full Course Yellow for him to contend with, before racing resumed. However, with weather conditions worsening and several cars aquaplaning off, the Safety Car returned before the red flag was shown with 20 minutes remaining, handing the pair the win.
After a successful Le Mans Cup campaign, where he added victory in the Le Mans Cup to his impressive resume containing wins and podiums in the French GT Championship, GT World Challenge Europe, Intercontinental GT Challenge, GT Open, and the Asian Le Mans Series, Vincent will now explore options for the winter and 2024 season, with any announcements to come in due course.
Vince Commented,“The race conditions were really wet. Hiroshi had a great start, and the team did a good job with the strategy to go one lap later for our pit stop. I pushed for the first couple of laps because we knew a lot of rain was coming, just to make a bigger gap, and the pace was really good.
“As the Safety Car was called, I was aquaplaning in turn one, so it was not too safe for us out there. It was a good race and there weren’t too many yellows, so we were able to show our pace over the course of a stint which has been our strength.
“It was a successful year in terms of collaboration and race performance, but we had our share of bad luck this year. The pace and work ethic were never an issue, and we performed each time, so I was very happy to be with Iron Lynx and meet one of the best Bronze drivers that I have been able to race with. I am very happy to have won a race in Le Mans Cup, adding to the victories and podiums in all the different GT championships I have raced in.”