ELMS: Podium celebrations kick off the season in Barcelona

Car #22 crew on the pitlane celebrating P3 podium
Car #22 crew on the pitlane celebrating P3 podium

The #22 crew of Ben Hanley, Marino Sato and Filip Ugran celebrated a podium finish in the 4 Hours of Barcelona yesterday afternoon - the first race of the 2024 European Le Mans Series. 

The #22 ORECA 07 started on pole, with Ugran taking the opening stint, holding the lead through the crowded first turn. The #22 ran in the top three throughout most of the race, with strong work from Sato who reduced a gap of more than 15 seconds to the leader. In the final 30 minutes, the chase for second place really stepped up with Ben Hanley at the wheel. Polesitter Hanley went hunting for second place, closing a gap of more than 20 seconds in a matter of laps before a Full Course Yellow with 10 minutes to go halted the pursuit – resulting in P3, just 0.7s away from P2, and our first podium of the ELMS season.  

Car #23 started P8 on the grid - Bijoy Garg kicked off with a double stint, handing the car over to Fabio Scherer in the same position. Unfortunately, Scherer was involved in an incident through traffic at T12, resulting in damage and a stop and go penalty. Di Resta took over for the final stints, eventually crossing the line an unrepresentative P9. 

In the LMP2 Pro/Am class, Daniel Schneider opened with a clean double stint, maintaining P6 and handing the car over safely to Andy Meyrick – who quickly progressed up to P3. However, contact from behind into T1 sent the #21 into the garage for more than 20 minutes as the crew worked hard to repair suspension and bodywork damage, dropping the United Autosports Pro/Am entry to the back of the pack. When the #21 rejoined the race, Meyrick and Jarvis battled valiantly to the finish, taking P7 in class at the checkered flag.­­

Round two of the European Le Mans Series is the 4 Hours of Le Castellet on the Sunday 5th May 2024. Stay up to date with the team in the meantime on social @unitedautosports.

Daniel Schneider, Andy Meyrick and Oliver Jarvis
Daniel Schneider, Andy Meyrick and Oliver Jarvis

CAR #21 (Pro/Am)


Daniel Schenider: “I did a consistent run and didn’t take any risks. I brought it back safely. We were running in P2 and P3 at some points … we definitely had a chance for the podium but then Meyrick had an incident, he was pushed into another car and that destroyed our race. So, it wasn’t a very compelling start to the season, but we know that Barcelona is not one of our favourite circuits and now all the good ones are coming – so we will keep on fighting.”

Andy Meyrick: “Very disappointed to finish the race the way we did … to get hit by another car when we were looking strong for the podium is a tough one to take.”

Oliver Jarvis: “Really disappointing actually, to get hit from behind when we were in podium contention and the other car involved didn’t even receive a penalty… such a shame because it ruined our race. We were in the running for a solid podium, which would have been a great way to start the year. We kept on fighting, the team did a good job and we have a few weeks now to prepare ahead of Paul Ricard.”

Filip Ugran, Marino Sato and Ben Hanley
Filip Ugran, Marino Sato and Ben Hanley

CAR #22


Filip Ugran: “Not the result we deserved but it’s a podium and we’ll take it! We are happy and we will come even more focussed for the next race. The start was really good … I built quite a good gap to the cars behind, but we lost everything with the Full Course Yellow. We had no luck, but still achieved my first podium in endurance – so I’m happy with that.”

Marino Sato: “Filip did everything he needed to do in the opening laps. His pace in the beginning was really strong. We lost the lead in a situation that was out of our control, but we had competitive pace. We had a different strategy with the tyres so sometimes they were stronger, other times they were weaker. We should have been higher on the podium but there was nothing more we could do. I’m a bit gutted, but it’s still a good start to the season.”

Ben Hanley: “It was okay. We got a bit caught out by the first Full Course Yellow which, when it went green, seemed to be a bit of a mess. Some people benefitted hugely and some people lost out … unfortunately we were one of the cars to lose out. It was disappointing that it wasn’t rectified from a race control point of view because it was a communication issue … that was frustrating because track position means a lot here. So from then you’re trying to play catch up. I think the way we ran the race was positive. At one point, it looked like we were dropping back but it meant we were strong at the end … we knew that was going to happen. So we just had to hope that it fell in the right way for us … unfortunately, the yellows didn’t quite fall for us. But we can’t complain with pole position, third place and good points for the championship.”

Bijoy Garg, Fabio Scherer and Paul di Resta
Bijoy Garg, Fabio Scherer and Paul di Resta

CAR #23


Bijoy Garg: “Really tough race for us. I managed the first stint pretty well, but it was hard in the second stint. And then there were a few incidents that knocked us back. There are positives to take from the Prologue and Race Week though, so we’ll build on those and move on to Paul Ricard.” 

Fabio Scherer: “It was a difficult one today. Sorry for my mistake. Heads up, full focus on the next one and we’ll get the result that we didn’t achieve here.”

Paul di Resta: “Not the way we want to start. When I got in the car, we were a bit down. Fabio had an unfortunate incident which caused a nose change and a penalty. So, it puts you on the back foot in a championship where it is a short race. There’s a lot to take from it, but it’s not the result we are working so hard for.”


Max Gregory: “Congratulations to the #22 crew on their first podium of the season, it’s a solid start for sure. We should have taken second place close to the end, but some questionable respect of blue flags by lapped cars meant Ben’s progress was slowed.  

 The #23 had a challenge ahead with a mid-field start and then an incident which we will review and build on – that driver line-up has huge potential, but starting mid-pack always puts you on the back foot unfortunately and today wasn’t their day.

For the #21 Pro/Am, I just feel bad for them because their race was ruined by someone else. They were hit from behind by another P2 and then into a GT car – the resulting contact with the GT bent some suspension components requiring repairs in the garage. The crew did well to get it back out there and to the finish, with good pace in the car too as Olly [Jarvis] demonstrated. The drivers and crew deserved a better race than that.

 Thank you, as ever, to the United Autosports team who have put in a huge amount of time and effort in the build up to and throughout the event. I’m super happy with our combination of drivers, team and staff in ELMS this year so I’m looking forward to the next event at Le Castellet.”