It was a positive start with new recruit Marino Sato gaining a place for the #22 car, Daniel Schneider maintaining position in the Pro/Am #21 and Jim McGuire dropping just one place in the Pro/Am #23 – and all three avoiding trouble when a lap one crash took out numerous contenders and kick-started a 15 minute safety car session.
The tables turned, however, when two punctures forced the #21 and #22 to make unplanned pitstops, losing valuable time in the opening hour. Contact and brake issues compounded the problem and as a result we’ve come away with underwhelming finishes for all three cars. In the LMP2 category, Hanson finished the race in P6, while in the LMP2 Pro/Am class, the #21 and #23 finished P10 and P11 respectively.
It’s not the start we wanted, but it’s definitely not the end. The next round of the European Le Mans Series is the 4 Hours of Le Castellet on 16th July 2023, and we’ll be ready to make our comeback.
Until then, stay up to date with the team @unitedautosports.
QUALIFYING P7 (IN CLASS) | RACE P10 (IN CLASS)
Daniel Schneider: “Today was my first LMP2 race so I was really excited. It was a good experience in the car at the start … but unfortunately we had a puncture, contact and general race incidents, and the car wasn’t as quick as it was in Qualifying. We need to get to the bottom of that and understand what happened. We’ll bounce back.”
Andy Meyrick: “Disappointing to finish P10 … for some reason, we didn’t have the pace we had hoped for in the race. But I’m grateful for the United Autosports team who have made an amazing effort all week. We’ll regroup and go for round two in Le Castellet.”
Nelson Piquet Jr: “This was our first race together and Daniel’s first LMP2 race, but there’s a lot that we’re going to have to learn and fix because it hasn’t been a good weekend for us.”
QUALIFYING P4 | RACE P6 | CHAMPIONSHIP P6
Phil Hanson: “We made such good progress to get a strong car for Qualifying. I think if we had another session, we’d be there. We were quite confident going into the race too … Marino had a good start, and then it unravelled. This is not the way we wanted to start the European Le Mans Series, but we’ve had challenging starts before and we’ve gone onto win, so we’ll start again in Paul Ricard.”
Olly Jarvis: “Really disappointing … we had a few issues with the car including a puncture early on which put us nearly a lap down. The big positive is that Marino did a fantastic job – it was a great first endurance weekend for him. But we wanted a lot more than we achieved today, so there’s some hard work to do. Firstly, to understand what went wrong and secondly to make progress for the next round.”
Marino Sato: “The start was good … I think there were more opportunities for me to gain places but as it was my first race in this car, I didn’t want to take too many risks. So I gained one place, which I’m happy with. I did everything I could to manage the puncture, but that was when the race turned for us. But overall, I’ve learnt a lot this week. There’s definitely more to come from me.”
QUALIFYING P9 (IN CLASS) | RACE P11 (IN CLASS)
Jim McGuire: “It’s been a really hard week, tough race. All I can say is we kept it clean and brought it home … now, we’ll go back to the drawing board and figure out what we’ve got to do to get it right and move forward.”
Paul di Resta: “It’s obviously been tough … we’ve got some hard work to do. It’s been a challenging week as a whole actually, getting up to speed here. But I know the United Autosports team will be working around the clock to make it right. Good work from Jim – he had a clean race start and brought the car home safely. So yeah, the result isn’t what we wanted, but we’ll learn from it.”
Guy Smith: “Pretty tough day. We’ve been struggling a little bit with balance in the #23 car this week and a general lack of grip. But we got the car to the finish and it was good to get some experience. For me, having not driven for a year, getting some race time was great. It would have been nice to finish a little bit higher up but we’ll regroup, look at this weekend and come back stronger in Paul Ricard.”
Max Gregory: “Today wasn’t our day. We had a double dose of bad luck for the #21 and #22, both of which suffered punctures. We will be unpicking the issues and learning from them in preparation for Le Castellet. It’s far from ideal to start the European Le Mans Series this way, but with five rounds remaining, nothing is decided and our aims are the same. We want to reclaim the European Le Mans LMP2 title and deliver competitive results in our new Pro/Am venture.”