In a strong field of LMP2 Pro/Ams, the #21 ORECA 07 climbed from P9 to P4 - running one step off the podium in the final hour - before crossing the line P5 in class, and narrowly missing out on a top-10 finish overall.
Disappointingly, the second Pro/Am entry – the #23 of Jim McGuire, Paul di Resta and Guy Smith – only managed to gain one place on their Qualifying position of P11.
The #22 LMP2 Pro contender of Phil Hanson, Olly Jarvis and Marino Sato had the toughest start of all, however, sitting at the back of the grid behind 40 cars after causing a red flag in Qualifying.
True to form, Jarvis stormed through the pack in the first half hour, taking the #22 ORECA 07 from P41 to P6 … but a hit to the back and tyre issues sealed their fate with a final result of P7 in class.
We’re heading into the summer break now, with six weeks until the 4 Hours of Aragon – round three of the European Le Mans Series.
In the meantime, stay up to date with the team on social @unitedautosports – next stop, we’re heading to California for two weeks of historic racing in Monterey with team boss, Zak Brown.
QUALI P9 | RACE P5 (IN CLASS) | CHAMP P8
Daniel Schneider: “I think my stint was pretty solid – the car was the best it’s been this weekend. So that gave me a lot of confidence to push … it was hard at the beginning because I got stuck behind a slower LMP2 car, but I overtook him and put in some decent laps, which I’m super happy with. I made one silly mistake, being brave in a corner where I shouldn’t have been and losing a few seconds. But I’ve really enjoyed myself, I’ve enjoyed the circuit. United Autosports gave me a really good car and we ended up finishing P5 after starting P9. Overall, a good weekend!”
Nelson Piquet Jr: “A real improvement on Barcelona, but it was a shame I lost fourth position right at the end. I was pushing to try and catch the AF Corse car for third place … pushing as much as I could, and I forced myself into a mistake with a lapped car which was unfortunate … but it was a risk I took to try and catch the cars in front. The United Autosports car has really come on since Barcelona, and we’ve learnt a lot … so we’ll be even better for the next race.”
Andy Meyrick: “Really happy to finish P5 - Daniel did a fantastic job through traffic, handed the car over in a good position, and it was a perfect pit stop by the guys. My stint was quite clean and trouble-free … I got held up in a bit of traffic towards the end but overall, we’re satisfied with the job we’ve done today. Thank you to Daniel, Nelson and the United Autosports team.”
QUALI DNQ | RACE P7 (IN CLASS) | CHAMP P7
Phil Hanson: “Another challenging weekend in ELMS … we started on the back foot after Qualifying. At one point, when we got the Safety Car, we were P5 so the gap closed up and it looked like our race could be coming back together. But on the restart, we lost a couple of places and then we took a hit. I got in again and felt like I was just looking in my mirrors the whole time … and then we had a front left tyre concern which we elected to pit and replace, which was a shame. But at that point, we were already in a position that we weren’t very happy with … off the podium.”
Oliver Jarvis: “There’s no way to sugar coat it, that was a really disappointing weekend. We were very unlucky in Qualifying with a fuel pressure issue which meant we started last. I managed to bring the car up into P6 … but later in the race we were hit and then we had to change a front left tyre in the final stages so we ended up P7 in class and P12 overall. It’s not what the team deserve … we’ve got a lot of work to do. But we’ve got to keep our heads high and focus on achieving a better result in Aragon.”
Marino Sato: “My stint wasn’t the easiest … we were sandwiched in the middle of the LMP2 pack after the Safety Car, which made everything more difficult to manage. And then we got hit, so we carried damage from that through the second half of the race. I’m really looking forward to Aragon though and feeling confident – I’m clocking up more time in the car and understanding more and more about the engineering side too.”
QUALI P11 | RACE P10 (IN CLASS) | CHAMP P11
Jim McGuire: “We’ve got to keep learning, moving forward … and look forward to the next event in Aragon. I’ve never raced there before, so it will be good to get to a new track and go for a better result in round three.”
Paul di Resta: “Tough day. It’s a competitive Pro / Am field out there – so when you’re off the lead lap, it’s really hard to catch up. We made some good progress in practice this week so hopefully we can claim a better result for the team next time in Aragon.”
Guy Smith: “Another challenging weekend for us – our European Le Mans Series hasn’t quite kickstarted yet, but we’re only two rounds in so there’s still time. Thanks to the United Autosports team, they’ve been great all weekend, and my co-drivers Jim and Paul. See you again in Aragon …”
Max Gregory: “A top-five finish in our second race in the competitive LMP2 Pro/Am category is a good result, and definitely the direction we want to be heading in – well done to Daniel, Nelson and Andy. Another tricky day for the #23 Pro/Am car, and also the #22 Pro team. It’s a really solid driver line-up, and we made good progress in the practice sessions. Without that issue in Qualifying, which dictated our strategy, I think it could have been a very different day for us. Now the hard work starts for Aragon – we’re determined to turn this season around.”