New double in pain for United Autosports

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Sunday is race day, and we will compete in the 4 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps for the second round of the ELMS. The British team United Autosports started from pole position.

Yet mistreated by G-Drive for a long time, United Autosports took advantage of a last hour full of twists and turns to confirm by achieving a second LMP2-LMP3 double in two meetings. On the GTE side, Kessel Racing won for the first victory in the category.

ELMS, Spa: the film of the race

If the start went perfectly for the leaders LMP2 and LMP3, the Porsche n ° 93 of Proton Competition misses its take-off and already gives up the lead of the race. It is the Aston Martin n ° 98 driven by Paul Dalla Lana who recovers the first place with behind him the Porsche Proton Competition n ° 77 and the Ferrari of the 74 of Kessel Racing.

The first contact came after 4 minutes of racing between the Ferrari n ° 66 of JWS Motosport and the 83 of Iron Lynx. The # 66 will ultimately be held responsible and will be penalized with a Drive Through. A few minutes later, Danish driver Mikkelh Jensen begins his festival at the wheel of the LMP2 G-Drive proto n ° 26 by gaining second place on the No. 32 United Autosports and chasing the No. 22 Hanson.

The first Safety-Car comes after a quarter of an hour caused by the run-off of the LMP2 n ° 9 of InterEuropol which was trying to avoid the prototype n ° 10 which spun ahead of it. This Safety-Car allows cars with one lap behind to be doubled to come back in the same lap and also allows Jensen to get back to the leading prototype in LMP2: the # 22 of United Autosports.
We will have to wait 15 minutes before seeing the safety car return to the pit. The n ° 26 of G-Drive takes the lead of the race by passing the leader United Autosports thanks to a better restart. At the same time, the Panis Racing proto recovered 9th place thanks to a big overtaking from the outside.

In a big battle at 4 LMP2 a little further, Tatiana Calderón made a double overtaking to gain 11th place at the wheel of the prototype n ° 50 of Richard Mille Racing. After 40 minutes, the first place in LMP3 of the No. 2 United Autosports is finally contested by the No. 15 RLR Mtsports.
However, it is difficult to get the best out of the British team’s prototype, which has a very good racing pace. The battle for first place is also happening in the GTE category with the Porsche 77 from Proton Competiton which shows itself in the mirrors of the Aston Martin n ° 98.

The Iron Lynx Ferrari # 60 suffered a big track excursion which resulted in the second Safety-Car of the race. This incident is due to a contact with the proto LMP2 United Autosports n ° 32 of William Owen who fell back too early by passing the GT leading him to the fault. Owen will be penalized with a Stop-and-Go for this fault and will lose a lot of time leaving the 3rd place to the Jota team. The first hour ends under a safety car.

Proton Competition

Classement H+1 : LMP2/ G-Drive #26 – LMP3/ United Autosports #2 – GTE/ Aston Martin Racing #98

The restart was given at 2:53 from the end of the day and Jensen got off to a very good start and kept the lead in the race behind the wheel of his G-Drive car. On the GTE side, the Porche # 77 of Proton Competition took advantage of a somewhat long pit stop on the Aston Martin to recover the first place in the category. Meanwhile, the battle for the podium in LMP2 between the Duqueine, Jota and Cool Racing teams. The struggles are linked in GTE and the Ferrari # 74 of Kessel Racing recovers the second place behind the Porsche. AF Corse’s Ferrari fell 4th and was under pressure from the Team Spirit of Race car.

LMP2 and LMP3 leaders G-Drive and United Autosports maintain their lead. The latter is 45 seconds ahead of her pursuer. At 2:30 am from the end, the second round of saves arrives for the LMP2. United Autosports Hanson # 22 driver leaves the wheel to Filipe Albuquerque.
Duqueine’s prototype n ° 30 temporarily takes second place. It is the turn of the leader of G-Drive # 26 to stop. Roman Rusinov took over from Jense and came out 5 seconds ahead of Portuguese Albuquerque. But that was without counting on the talent of the United Autosports driver who returned to the leader and managed to take the lead at halfway. On the LMP3 side, the No. 2 United Autosports dominates this race with her head and shoulders and leaves her opponents no chance.

Ranking H + 2: LMP2 / United Autosports # 22 – LMP3 / United Autosports # 2 – GTE / Proton Competition # 77

20 minutes after the halfway point, a great battle between the two GTE leaders. The Kessel Racing Ferrari puts pressure on the Porsche 77 which continues its perfect race for now. Meanwhile, the author of the very good first stint in the Aston Martin, Paul Dalla Lana gets back the wheel. Another race event a few minutes later with the Ferrari n ° 54, until then 3rd, which suffered a breakdown at the exit of Blanchimont in a very dangerous place.

This results in a Full Course Yellow as large gray clouds threaten the circuit. This Full Course Yellow causes pit stops and in particular that of the proto 26 of G-Drive which won its bet by coming out in front of car 22 of the leader Albuquerque. Prototype # 38 of the Jota team completes the LMP2 podium. At 1:30 am from the end, the green flag was waved again and the Portuguese driver at the wheel of the 22 of United Autosports took the lead directly on G-Drive hampered by the traffic in front of him and in particular the Aston Martin n ° 98.

The gap between the two LMP2 leaders is minimal and the G-Drive rider puts pressure on Albuquerque as the second United Autosports prototype (No.32) returns very quickly and is expected to play for the podium. Despite the battle ahead, this 3rd hour remains calm with the increase in the gaps but luckily for the show the rain will invite itself to the party at the start of the last hour.

Ranking H + 3: LMP2 / United Autosports # 22 – LMP3 / United Autosports # 2 – GTE / Proton Competition # 77

This last hour of racing was going to be completely crazy with from the start the exit of the track at the top of the steep slope of the Porsche 77 then in the lead in GTE. The Ferrari 74 of Kessel Racing recovers the first place. At the same time, the long-awaited rain begins to fall on the final part of the circuit and it will quickly cause damage. Indeed, while he had finally found the fault on the leader Filipe Albuquerque, Jensen left at the wheel of his G-Drive n ° 26 and will have to give up leaving the way open to the n ° 22 of United Autosports.

There will be a fight for the podium in LMP2 at the end of the race while the games are made in LMP3 and GTE. The second United Autosports prototype n ° 32 makes a formidable comeback and is 5th having already made his last pit stop which gives him virtually second place and therefore a double for the British team.

But once again nothing is ever played out in Endurance and a new Full Course Yellow will allow the Graff, Panis Racing and Duqueine teams, respectively 3rd, 4th and 5th, to go through the pits to make their last stop and come out in front of the British team: the double that was promised to them is gone. A last and magnificent battle is offered to us for second place with a last memorable lap.

While the n ° 39 of Graff Racing resisted the n ° 31 of Panis Racing, the latter was stolen from its third place by the n ° 30 of Duqueine Engineering which was in ambush just behind. If the places had to be frozen, Madame Météo decided otherwise and made the rain return to the final part of the circuit.
Prototype n ° 30 gets trapped and goes wrong. There are indeed 2 French teams on the LMP2 podium. Far ahead of it all, Hanson, who got the wheel for the last stint, crossed the finish line and gave United Autosports the second victory of the season and the first to the No.22 prototype. LMP3-LMP2 double validated for the British with the clear victory of prototype n ° 2 in LMP3. Finally first victory for the Ferrari 74 of Kessel Racing in GTE.

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