A second consecutive win which takes us into the championship lead – a great start to 2020! I’m very happy. It was hard, very hard and a bit of a rollercoaster kind of race. Much more difficult than our Bahrain win. I managed to get us into the lead in both of my stints. I enjoyed my second one better but overall I felt I put in a strong and solid performance. I can’t wait for Sebring to come around.
HANSON HEADS FIA WORLD ENDURANCE LMP2 CHAMPIONSHIP IN TO SECOND HALF OF 2019-20 SEASON
Stunning début for Phil at The Circuit Of the Americas
Phil Hanson heads the LMP2 FIA World Endurance Drivers’ Trophy title race after Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and the young Briton brilliantly won its second consecutive WEC race – Hanson’s fourth consecutive top-three placing.
Phil’s four-point series lead comes courtesy of a fantastic fight back up the leaderboard by the United trio plus perfect tyre strategy from the United Autosports’ pit crew in the 6 Hour Lone Star Le Mans event staged at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas (23 Feb). It was the first time Hanson, and United, had ever competed at CoTA. Round Six of the eight-race season is held at Sebring, Florida, on 20 March.
A fantastic start by Di Resta from the front row of the LMP2 grid saw him snatch the lead at the first corner, the weather dry overcast, cool and breezy, but a handling imbalance dropped the #22 to fourth 15mins in. A very fast fuel-only pit-stop (on 41mins) promoted Di Resta a place but running on “soft” quali tyres continued to severely hamper his pace – the #22 completing the first hour placed fifth. A struggling Di Resta, pitted early (73mins) from seventh for a full service to Hanson who resumed eighth – the United Oreca now running out of phase compared to the rest of the LMP2 runners.
A very impressive stint saw Hanson take the lead before pitting for fuel nearing one-third distance, the young Briton re-emerging sixth. #22 led once more before stopping for a full service to Albuquerque (2h 41m). The Portuguese led at mid-distance, pitting for fuel/left tyres (3h 25m) and re-joining third before moving back into the lead with a little over two-hours to go, continuing the yo-yo effect due to the different timings of pit-stops for United’s rivals.
Di Resta took over from Albuquerque (4h 12m) who had once again, produced a stellar performance, the Scot slotting into third and heading the field with 90mins left – the ex-F1 driver, unlike his two race opening stints, able to press on fast and very hard. He pitted for fuel (63mins left), resuming in the lead but fully aware a fuel splash would be necessary before the chequered flag. Di Resta duly stopped again with 20mins to run, remaining in the lead, and took the chequered flag, first in LMP2 and fourth overall, a comfortable 24secs ahead of the second-placed LMP2 car.
23 February 2020
- Hanson heads FIA World Endurance LMP2 championship in to second half of 2019-20 season