- #23 second in standings; #22 earned United pole-position
- Sebring winning #23 battles from back of the field to record fourth top-six of season
- #22 leads much of opening three-hours but bad luck continues after throttle sensor issue
United Autosports finished fifth in the 6 Hours of Monza today (10 Jul) – unlucky breaks robbing the US-flagged team’s pair of ORECAs of likely podium finishes. Alex Lynn/Oliver Jarvis/Josh Pierson swept their #23 ORECA from the very back of the field earning United its fifth FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 top-six result of the season.
It marked the 1,000 Miles of Sebring winning #23 ORECA duo of Jarvis and Pierson a fourth top-six of the season, Alex Lynn having missed the WEC opening race, at least a podium looking likely until the final hour. #22 of Phil Hanson/Filipe Albuquerque/Will Owen recorded a totally unrepresentative 13th position in Italy having led much of the first half of the race as their bad luck continues.
United head to the penultimate race of the WEC season in Japan in two months’ time still placed second (#23) and eighth (#22) with #23 trailing the current championship leaders by 19-points, and #22 36-points off the top-three. With a maximum of 65-points still up for grabs at Fuji and in Bahrain, both crews are relishing the task ahead as they bid for an end of season place in the top-three final standings when the six-race series draws to a close in Bahrain in November.
#22 started from LMP2 pole-position in blazing hot sunshine and lay inside the top-three in the first half of the race, leading much of the opening phase. It headed an epic LMP2 battle in the fourth hour but immediately after a scheduled pit-stop, suffered a throttle sensor issue requiring a 15min pit-stop to rectify. #22 set competitive lap times to the finish, recovering to 13th.
Having started at the back of the 38-car grid after not setting a qualifying time, #23 was just outside the top-six prior to a Safety Car period approaching mid-distance but was often the fastest car on-track. A top-three finish, if not victory, looked possible but a Full Course Yellow with an hour remaining removed those hopes, #23 claiming fifth at the chequered flag, less than 23 secs off a podium finish after a hard fought race.
#22 Phil Hanson (GB)/Filipe Albuquerque (POR)/Will Owen (USA)
Will: “Leading the race was very rewarding. It was tough work at times in my opening stints but starting from pole is always a happy place to begin a race although traffic was an issue at times. But overall, it hasn’t been an enjoyable race for us again.”
Filipe: “It’s now four races where we’ve been in a promising position, with everything looking like we’re on for a good result, only to suffer an issue. But we’ll still keep fighting and that begins at Fuji. I was delighted to get ‘pole’ especially having missed out last year.”
Phil: “Same story as previous WEC races this year, we’re in a good position, something happens, which takes us out of contention. I lost drive in the first few laps of my stint and boxed because I was causing a hazard for everyone on-track. We need to get to the bottom of what happened.”
#23 Alex Lynn (GB)/Oliver Jarvis (GB)/Josh Pierson (USA)
Alex: “I’m heartbroken as a badly timed FCY with an hour to go took away a possible win and that is hard to take. As a crew, we had a difficult job after quali and I think we made all the right calls but a much better result was snatched from us which is tough to digest.”
Josh: “I didn’t spend much time in the car but we did okay considering everything. I tripled the tyre which was really difficult towards the end. Where we finished is pretty good considering the circumstances. First time at Monza – it’s a fun track.”
Oliver: “I’m disappointed with P5 as until the closing stages, it looked like we’d fight for the win until a FCY. Overall I’m happy with how I drove, my pace was good, we all chipped away, and the team gave us the perfect strategy. We need things to go just a little more our way.”
Richard: “It’s particularly frustrating as #22 led five of the nine stints during the race, a failed throttle position sensor seemingly failed but we’ll investigate further. #23 came from the back to fifth but a late race FCY came at the wrong time for us. Hopefully Fuji is better!”
Zak: “Another case of ‘if only’. #23 made a great recovery from its start position after its qualifying problems to claim more points while #22 just cannot get a break this season. We push on, work hard and hopefully the results will come for us in the final two races.”