On the grid, the #22 lined up P8 in class (P9 overall). Paul Di Resta took the first stint, leading by lap two and, shortly after, setting the fastest lap of the race (1:42:139).
In the middle stages, contact with the #34 Walkenhorst Motorsport GT3 car, nose damage and a spin slowed progress, with track position sitting at P7 going in the final hour as Phil Hanson took over from Jim McGuire.
The Bend-liveried #23 car started P9 in class (P10 overall), quickly encountering issues of its own with a lap one skirmish causing damage to the nose and a drive-through penalty. As the race settled down, the #23 ran between P10 and P8 – but with work to do.
With just 10 minutes to go, the #43 Inter Europol Competition LMP2 car was pulled into the garage, promoting the #22 crew to their third top-five finish of the fortnight. The #23 ORECA 07 also gained a place, crossing the line P6 in the hands of The Bend co-owner Yasser Shahin who took the final stint under the floodlights.
Quali P8 (in class) | Race P5 | Champ P8
Jim McGuire: “I think we had a pretty tough race today. Paul drove extremely well but when I got in the car, the temperatures were changing and track conditions were tough. Traffic was a bit crazier than it was yesterday, and it was difficult to get through and get good times out of it. But anyway, we finished the race and got P5. Now we go to the European Le Mans Series.”
Phil Hanson: “Bittersweet. We had second place yesterday, but we finished fifth because of something we didn’t gain from, but were penalised for. So we come away with P5, P7, P5 and P5. We had pretty clean races, I can’t really see us doing much more. The third race was the perfect race with the perfect scenarios, and that’s the highlight despite being docked a few positions. I feel like we still finished second and that’s something to be proud of. It’s a shame that the performance wasn’t quite there in the last stint for me today when I went on new tyres but until that point I was pretty happy with the pace. It’s been a decent start to the year and it’s been fun, I’ve really enjoyed the past couple of weekends.”
Paul Di Resta: “It’s not always been straightforward – not like past success we’ve had in Asian Le Mans. It was a shame to lose out on second place yesterday with a small pit stop infringement we had – but we have to accept it, we have to move on. We’ve certainly worked hard, trying to maximise … but you need a bit of luck on the way and we didn’t have that. It’s been great to be back with United Autosports and it’s always good to be racing in February … it prepares you for the year. It would have been nice to be more successful but you take it on the chin. Massive thanks to everyone that’s been involved and all the effort that’s gone into it. Until next time.”
Quali P9 (in class) | Race P6 | Champ P7
Yasser Shahin: “We’ve had a great time, what a fantastic event. United Autosports were flawless, a few calls didn’t go our way but onwards and upwards for next time.”
Garnet Patterson: “A tricky series - we had pretty lofty goals coming in and we didn’t really meet the objective but all in all the speed has been good, I think we’ve all driven well … we’ve just had unlucky things strategy-wise, mainly with safety cars and red flags falling at the wrong times. But I’m happy with what we’ve done. Performance has been good, the team’s done a great job. The car was really good today - I think we could have won the race, backed up by second yesterday, which would have been a great way to end … but it wasn’t to be. It’s been great to be back in the LMP2 car, I really feel at home in there. Hopefully there’s more to come in the future.”
Oliver Jarvis: “We’ve showed a lot of promise but unfortunately the races just haven’t gone our way. P6 finish today … we got involved in too many incidents early on. We had the pace and if we’d managed to stay out of trouble, we could have won a few races. But that’s how it goes. It’s so competitive this year, you have to put everything together – and we didn’t quite do that. But I've learned a lot, had great fun in the car with Garnet and Yasser and hopefully we can come back and do it again next year."
Max Gregory: “This isn’t the way we wanted the championship to go – we have won numerous races and championships in Asian Le Mans Series before so we can’t help but feel a little deflated. But we come away with four top-five finishes from four races, including a podium so we have to give ourselves some credit. We have some real positives that we can take away from this year's series - strong pace, podiums, fastest laps and a team who gave it their all. Thank you to the drivers and crew who worked incredibly hard over the last couple of weeks. Now we look ahead to the rest of the season. We’re really excited and I have no doubt the success we deserve will come.”