Jenson Button, Petter Solberg score Legends Trophy wins in Portugal

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Jenson Button and Petter Solberg captured victories Saturday in the Legends Trophy Torque Esports’ The Race All-Star Esports Series at virtual Autodromo do Estoril.

Button, the 2009 Formula One champion, started on pole for the second consecutive week and led 10 laps wire to wire in a 5-second victory over Emanuele Pirro.

Jan Magnussen finished third, Vitantonio Liuzzi was fourth, and Adrian Fernandez took fifth.

It was Button’s first win in this round of the Legends Trophy but his third overall.

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“I was just hammering it every lap because I thought if I take it easy, there’s just as much chance I’m going to spin off as if I push hard,” Button said. “This track is really tricky. T

“his is the one that worried me the most. I was testing and I wasn’t really on the pace. It’s definitely more of a sort of rally-style in terms of where you put the car, rallycross style, you double apex a lot of the corners.”

In the second race, two-time World Rally Championship titlist Petter Solberg jumped from fourth to first on a daring pass in Turn 1 on the second lap and cruised to a 14-second-win over Pirro. Mika Salo was third, followed by Button and Magnussen.

“I had a very good start and then I had to back off because I got too close to the car in front,” Solberg said. “I knew I had good speed, and I just had to try and be as clean as possible. Circuit racing is definitely not easy but I’m loving it.”

Pirro, the five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, took over the Legends Trophy championship with 164 points through four races. Button is ranked second in the standings with 160, followed by Solberg (150),  Magnussen (138) and Juan Pablo Montoya (127).

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

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With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.



Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III