It was a commanding start for the United Autosports duo. The #22 ORECA 07 started on pole position – their first of the season, courtesy of Phil Hanson - and lead almost uninterrupted for three hours. The sister #23 was close behind, with Josh Pierson upgrading third to second in the opening laps and quickly pulling away from the pack – before a 10 second penalty for light contact reversed crucial progress.
As we moved into the second half, the gap closed at the top and the battle intensified, with undercuts in the pits and daring overtakes on track. We managed fuel saving strategies, endured contact from Vanwall which sent the #23 spinning and, in the final stages, watched Albuquerque (#22) masterfully hold off the advances of the hunting #31.
In a final push, the #31 snatched second place before Filipe reclaimed our podium step with just moments left on the clock. That marks our sixth WEC podium of the season and brings home a crucial haul of championship points for the #22 which means the title is still in reach with one round to go.
The 8 Hours of Bahrain is the final of the 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship, with points and a half up for grabs on 4th November. Stay up to date with the team in the meantime on social @unitedautosports.
QUALI P1 | RACE P2 | CHAMP P3
Phil Hanson: “Pole position and second place gives us really good points to get back in the championship fight at the last round in Bahrain. Yes, I was happy with my performance today.”
Filipe Albuquerque: “What a race – we started really well, pulling away with a big gap. I think our car was working better with the hotter conditions. Later on, we were fighting with the WRT cars – Frijns did an amazing pass on me, but I never gave up and on the last lap I made a move back from really far. In my opinion, the cold temperatures didn’t help us, but a podium is still good … I couldn’t have done any more today, and we take the fight for the title to the last race.”
Frederick Lubin: “We started off really strong with pace – but WRT just seemed to have an edge at the end. For me, it was tough – I’ve been quite ill, so today was a struggle. But second place is good points and it’s all going down to the wire for the championship in Bahrain. We have a few weeks off now so I’ll be putting in time at the gym and on the sim, and hopefully we can get our win in Bahrain.”
QUALI P3 | RACE P4 | CHAMP P4
Josh Pierson: “The race started off positively – but then we had a bit of contact and got a 10 second penalty which I think was unfair considering that the contact didn’t result in a massive time loss for either of us … I look at it as more of a racing incident. The car was okay, we had decent balance and could have contended for the win. But the race didn’t come to us and it’s disappointing we didn’t get to fight up there. So we focus on winning in Bahrain.”
Olly Jarvis: “Disappointing result after a really strong weekend. It just didn’t quite go our way in the race – we had a 10 second penalty, and then we got turned around by the Vanwall. We probably lacked a little bit of pace to the WRT but we were definitely contenders so to come away with fourth is disappointing. But we’ll regroup and focus on winning the last race of the year.”
Ben Hanley: “Bit of a messy race really – we got a penalty at the start and then I got hit by a Hypercar. We were in a decent track position before that, so after the hit we were battling to try and improve it … maybe we chased it a bit too hard. The potential was there for a good result, disappointing.”
Richard Dean: “All in all, it was a competitive weekend – we’ve been competitive from the moment we rolled out of the pit lane. We’ve taken pole position, lead more laps than anybody else … but WRT were strong. Unlucky for the #23 which was hit by the Vanwall, plus we had a 10 second penalty for contact which I think was harsh, and which probably cost the #23 a chance to win that race. Pole position, a second and a fourth is not a bad effort by any means … it’s not what we came here to do, but we are still in the championship fight going to Bahrain.”