- Portugal’s Filipe Albuquerque and Alvaro Parente took Team Portugal to victory in ROC South Europe tonight in front of their delighted home crowd at Portimão’s Autódromo Internacional do Algarve
- Portugal saw off Italy, Spain and Monaco on a scintillating evening of racing, earning a place in the ROC Nations Cup World Final at Düsseldorf’s ESPRIT arena on November 27
It was a triumph for youth over experience as the young drivers of home side Portugal defeated Italy in the final of ROC South Europe.
The partisan home crowd had much to cheer on a night of triumphs for their home stars. Filipe Albuquerque and Alvaro Parente became the toast of Portimão as they romped to a 3-0 victory over the Italian team of Emanuele Pirro and Dindo Capello, who have a total of eight Le Mans 24-Hour race victories between them.
The result means Portugal qualify for the ROC Nations Cup World Final in Düsseldorf on November 27.
“It feels fantastic and I’m delighted to take Portugal to the ROC Nations Cup World Final,” said Albuquerque. “In the final Alvaro did it alone by winning both his races. We’re two fast drivers so we should look forward to November in Germany now.”
Parente added: “It’s a great result and we’re so happy to have done this in front of our home fans, who were fantastic tonight. We’re very happy that Portugal will be going to Düsseldorf.”
Beaten finalist Pirro, who was still celebrating his win in last night’s ROC Legends race, was full of praise for the young pair.
“Congratulations to the winners because Filipe and Alvaro were really strong,” he said. “It would have been nice to take it to the tie-break in the final but that’s the way it is. I’ve enjoyed the two days of this event so much that it’s a pity that we won’t be going to Germany – but it was a fair result.”
Both best-of-five semi-finals went to the wire on a nail-biting evening of racing. Italy left it as late as it gets to defeat Spain, made up of current WRC star Dani Sordo and Paris-Dakar winner Juan ‘Nani’ Roma. Sordo won his first two heats but was edged by Pirro in the decider by just 0.05 seconds.
The other semi-final also needed the decisive tie-break as Portugal defeated the Monaco team of former Le Mans 24-Hour race winner Stéphane Ortelli and GP2 race winner Clivio Piccione. Albuquerque won that decider when Piccione crashed out, to the delight of the enthusiastic Portimão crowd.
Earlier this evening Filipe Albuquerque took the ROC Iberia title, defeating countryman Alvaro Parente 2-0 in the final. They were separated by just 0.2s in the second heat after Parente crashed out of heat one.
After that final, Albuquerque said: “I was concentrating on making the finish of the races tonight because anything can happen on a track like this. But it went well in all the different cars and I’m happy that the fans had something to cheer!”
The ROC Iberia competition was between three drivers each from Portugal and Spain. The two Portuguese finalists first sent the local crowds wild by beating Spanish opposition in the semi-finals – Parente defeating Dani Sordo and Albuquerque seeing off the challenge of Nani Roma. Armindo Araujo and WTCC driver Sergio Hernandes were both knocked out in the first round.
*The Race Of Champions World Final will be held at Düsseldorf’s ESPRIT arena on November 27-28. The driver line-up already includes seven-time F1 world champion Michael Schumacher, four-time F1 world champion Alain Prost, 2010 F1 title contender Sebastian Vettel, six-time world rally champion Sébastien Loeb, eight-time Le Mans 24-Hour race winner Tom Kristensen and three-time world touring car champion Andy Priaulx.
More superstar drivers will be announced as November approaches. Tickets are available from the website www.raceofchampions.com with prices starting at 29 Euros.
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