Winners of the LMP2 FIA World Endurance Trophy 2019-2020 United Autosports will set off for 24 Hours of Le Mans next month, finishing second – 22nd – in this year’s standings, eager to repeat their magnificent triumph in the French “classic” from two years ago. .
The national team from Great Britain, the winner of the WEC start race in Sebring (USA) two months ago, unsuccessfully took fifth (№ 22, Phil Hanson (UK) / Philip Albuquerque (POR) / Will Owen (USA)) and sixth (# 23 hours Alex Lynn) (UK) / Oliver Jarvis (UK) / Josh Pearson (USA)) in the last six-hour race at Spa Francorsch after a late racing drama. Josh and Ollie are in second place in the United race, and the top three in the 22nd is seventh.
Two Oreca-07s from United started a six-hour race around the slightly revised 4.35-mile Belgian track in dry conditions, finishing third (22nd) and unrepresented 14th (23rd), with the latter passing only one “push” »Lap in qualifying in the LMP2 field by 15 cars the day before.
Both cars hit the top five with an hour, followed by the second (№ 23) and third (№ 22) – fifth and sixth overall – in the middle distance after many periods of safety cars plus two red flag race stops caused by track incidents and strong rain
The stop-start of the race continued into the second half of the race with additional car safety periods and another Red Flag stop due to heavy rain. Both cars went slippery in the 80 minutes left, still finishing second and third, № 22 costing № 23 at the pit stop. The driver’s door 23 did not work, which prevented the alleged change of driver, the replacement was successfully carried out with the help of the “passenger” door through several wheels.
# 22 finished second in the final hour but suffered a half, finishing fifth in the checkered flag, one place ahead of the unfortunate # 23, who was often the fastest LMP2 in the final stages. Definitely a double podium ruined by unpredictable racing incidents.
The next responsibility of the FIA team at the World Endurance Championships is the 90th 24 Hours of Le Mans, which will be held on June 11-12, where they will once again go down in history with Josh Pearson, who is set to become the youngest Le Mans driver.
# 22 Phil Hanson (UK) / Philip Albuquerque (POR) / Will Owen (USA)
Qualification: 3rd (FA). Race: 5th
Phil: “I was spinning on a wet section while braking, trying to overtake a Toyota that was slow. It is unfortunate that trying to get ahead, which was not an easy task due to Toyota’s power on other parts of the track, affected our race. I did my best to get back to fourth place, but it’s too hard to overtake offline on slicks. I just feel sorry for the team. “
Philip: “It was very difficult with the red flags, the FCY, the many incidents and a lot of rain. It was a hell of a race. We stayed in the top three, I don’t believe we had that pace to win, but the final stages were very frustrating as Toyota cost us a seat on the podium as Phil spun to get out of the net trying to get through. It’s very upsetting. ”
Will be: “With red flags and rain it was, to put it mildly, very saturated. I rode in the beginning when it was dry, lost a couple of positions at the start but recovered one while running and struggled hard so it was helpful. We are sorry that another class has interfered with our race, which is never what you want. It’s a disappointment, but now we’re focused on Le Mans. “
№ 23 Alex Lynn (UK) / Oliver Jarvis (UK) / Josh Pearson (USA)
Qualification: 14th (OJ). Race: 6th
Alexey: “Our car was incredibly good and the team was flawless on a very typical day at the weather spa. It was interesting to compete in this race, and I’m sure the fans liked it. Unfortunately, the problem with the door cost us a probable podium. We are looking for revenge in Le Mans. ”
Oliver: “Josh and Alex did an amazing job. Our car had a great pace and the team was exceptional. We were on the team pedestal, but we were just unlucky. The door failed, which cost us time, but I’d rather it happened at the Spa than next month at Le Mans! “
Josh: “We all had a great car. It’s unfortunate how things turned out with the door problem that wasted time. Given these circumstances, saving sixth place and gaining valuable points in my debut European car race was very nice. I am very confident looking forward to my girlfriend Le Mans. ”
“If we are going to face minor problems, then let it be at the Spa and not at Le Mans next month when double points are expected. Both cars looked good on the podium, but motor racing can sometimes be a tough sport. We will regroup and become stronger in Le Mans. “
“Fifth and sixth don’t seem like the right result for the pace we’ve had on both cars, it’s hard to accept, but I’d rather have problems hit us here than in Le Mans. The drivers of № 23 were impeccable. It was the perfect race for Josh to move from the 14th to take us into the competition. Alex was the fastest driver in the pouring rain, he flew and didn’t put his foot down. Oli got into the car in very difficult conditions, on the pictures on the drying track, and compared the lap time in the winning car LMP2. We lost together 100 seconds with a problem with the door that took us out of the fight for the podium. № 22 was constantly in the battle for the podium. Will worked hard to keep in touch, then Philip kept us hunting in the rain before Phil, who drove well and aggressively, suffered a couple of turns that lost his position on the track in the fight for second place.
Source. United Autosports