- Phil Hanson, Filipe Albuquerque and Paul Di Resta have won the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours
- #22 clinch LMP2 pole position with #22 Oreca 07 as well as Le Mans LMP2 lap record
- Team also provisionally win FIA World Endurance Championship
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United Autosports have won the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours, after the #22 crew of Phil Hanson, Filipe Albuquerque and Paul Di Resta brought their Oreca 07 home in first place after a frantic race, which saw Phil pit the leading Oreca with 10 minutes to go for a splash of fuel, before exiting the pits just in front of the second placed car, crossing the line first to take victory.
The #22 crew also started the race on pole position after Paul Di Resta set the fastest time during the inaugural Hyperpole session on Friday morning – which was also the fastest ever lap by an LMP2 car round Le Mans.
This race result for the #22 crew means they also provisionally win the 2019/2020 FIA World Endurance Championship with one round to go after scoring four straight wins, three pole positions and two further podiums throughout the year.
The race was bittersweet, however as the #32 crew of Alex Brundle, Will Owen and Job van Uitert suffered cruel luck as their Oreca 07 suffered a broken oil pipe at around 6am, meaning they had to pit for repairs from the lead of the race. Repairs in the garage took just over 45 minutes which ultimately dropped them down from battling for the win to 13th. Small consolation was Job van Uitert scoring the fastest lap of the race on lap 248 as he proved how quick he and his team mates had been during the first half of the race in the #32 car.
Phil Hanson, #22 driver, United Autosports:
“It sounds crazy and it hasn’t really sunk in yet. It feels like such a relief as I thought we had thrown it away in the last 30 minutes with everything kicking off with the safety car and the slow zones so its so rewarding to get it done and to win the championship as well. These are the two goals we set out to achieve at the start of the year and you are never 100% confident that you can achieve them as the grid is so competitive and anything can go wrong at Le Mans, especially in the style we did it in too – pitting right at the end and not knowing if we would make it out in the lead again of if the other car had to pit. It makes it even more of a rewarding feeling. I’m speechless.”
Filipe Albuquerque, #22 driver, United Autosports:
“I’ve got such a long story already with Le Mans. I’ve been close to winning Le Mans before so to achieve it today is incredible. Today, the reason why I was so nervous in the last few hours is because people expected us to win but it was not like that at all. We could have lost it all in the last 10 minutes after leading for so long and it’s not a win, until it’s a win. I could see us finishing P2 after Phil had to pit towards the end, which would have felt like a big loss especially because we didn’t know if JOTA had to pit or not but Phil was completely up to the task and he did a brilliant job, everyone at United has done a great job. A fourth straight win in the WEC, another pole position and I think we are just continuing to ride the wave of success and why not. In the end it’s a dream come true to win at Le Mans. I know it’s not overall but I think its more special than in LMP1 as there’s 24 cars with fantastic drivers all across the grid so well done to everyone in the team – huge congratulations.”
Paul Di Resta, #22 driver, United Autosports:
“It’s pretty cool to be able to say we have won the Le Mans 24 Hours. I think the biggest thing is winning four in a row. You win three in a row and then you come to Le Mans and you’d think your luck would be up, but I think we were hopeful that if we just carried on doing what we had been doing then we would be fine. But to come here on Friday and win Hyperpole, break the lap record and then win, it’s unbelievable. We were a bit sluggish in the race really, we had some issues in the pits but we stayed calm and all I can say is well done to everyone. The crew go through so much. We get the luxury of staying in a motor home and being able to sleep, but they have to sleep on deck chairs in the garage. People don’t know the effort that goes into this race. It’s just nice to get it done. The pressure was on changing to the Oreca but we nailed it!”
Will Owen, #32 driver, United Autosports:
“It’s really hard to know what to say about this race today. There’s a lot of positives to take out of it. You get to the 12 hour mark and you think you’ve made it to the night so its just the next half to get though and you start to see an opportunity open up an start to wonder if you could have a decent result. We were over half way in before we had our issue and I think its fair to say we would have been there in the end. It sucks. It’s heartbreaking really. We finally had the full package to be able to really fight, which is what we were doing. The #22 had the pace but I’d like to think we would have given them a run for their money. We were leading them by a good margin and then the oil issue happened. It sucks but we’ve got to thank everyone for trying their best.”
Alex Brundle, #32 driver, United Autosports:
“We got off to a good start, getting up to second from fifth which was nice. I made a couple of nice moves on Verne and van der Garde to get up to second and then we were always in a race with the JOTA car, the sister car and the G Drive car, but it looked like we could have won the race in all honesty. All three of us had the pace. It was a normal driver change from me to Job and then I was on my way to the motor home when I heard we had started to have issues. It then went from there. But it’s just one of those things.”
Job van Uitert, #32 driver, United Autosports
“It was nice fighting with the sister car and G Drive, I think we had good battles and we were definitely competitive. I think even with the pace we showed through the night and even after the problem we had we were definitely in it to win it. But Le Mans is Le Mans. You can do everything right and still it can go wrong."
Zak Brown, Team Owner and Chairman, United Autosports:
“To say that we have won Le Mans is absolutely fantastic. It has been the aim since Richard and I started the team so to now have finally done it is incredible. The team has worked so hard and Phil, Filipe and Paul deserve it. I have to commiserate with Alex, Will and Job though as they were also up there and fighting for the win – I’m not sure who would have won if they had still been in it at the end. They didn’t deserve the bad luck that hit them early this morning."
Richard Dean, Team Owner and Managing Director, United Autosports:
“I’m still a bit speechless really. It’s all feeling very surreal at the moment. Huge congratulations to every single member of the team, they have done a fantastic job. The three drivers worked so hard and were pushing for the full 24 hours. And I don’t know what to say about #32, they were on the same level of pace as the #22 and they would definitely have been at the sharp end come the final hour, but Le Mans can be cruel and we have seen that today with Will, Alex and Job.”