We're really happy to come away with maximum points after two very tough races at the beginning of the year. At this point in the season, we feel that we're back in the championship fight.
PHIL HANSON STARS IN EUROPEAN LE MANS SERIES WITH STUNNING POLE AND RACE WIN
Phil Hanson showed his speed and ability with a superb turn in the European Le Mans Series, securing pole position with a stunning lap and following up with the race victory at MotorLand Aragón at the weekend (August 25/26).
In qualifying, a red flag meant Phil had just 11 minutes to get his United Autosports LMP2 machine up to speed. With just two minutes left on the clock, he produced a fantastic time of 1:46.822, to head to the top of the times and clinch pole position for the race that evening.
Phil started the four-hour race, executing the race plan by leading through turn one and producing an excellent opening stint. He opened a gap at the front during his time behind the wheel, but unfortunately, a Safety Car eradicated that advantage. However, despite having just ten laps until his second pit stop, he once again extended the lead to eight seconds and handed over to Marino Sato in a strong position. From there, both Sato and Olly Jarvis ran well to the flag, handing the trio a well-earned victory.
The maximum score of 26 points means Phil now sits fourth in the LMP2 championship standings, just 11 points off the top spot with three races of the European Le Mans Series still to go. Before that however, he heads to Fuji in Japan for the penultimate round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, where he is third in the LMP2 standings.
Phil explained: "Qualifying was very strong and to come away with pole was excellent. It was one of the first full flying laps I'd completed as I wasn't able to get a lap together in FP1 or FP2 without traffic. I was happy to see that the lap had been enough for pole, knowing the following lap was going to have been compromised with lmp2 traffic. With it being so close, under a tenth between the top three. I was happy that my lap had been enough.
“Starting from pole, we opted for me to start to try and build on our advantage, controlling the race into T1 and then from that point onwards, create a bit of a buffer. A safety car came out in the middle of my second stint which hampered our progress, and meant that the advantage I'd created early on slipped away. I had a very strong restart after the Safety Car and was able to build an advantage before handing it over to my teammate Marino.
“The car was on rails, and with it being a night race, we had to set the car up for both conditions. I was happy to see that as the track evolution the car was still in a great window for both my teammates to do a fantastic job. Olly was very fast at the end, when it matters, and we were able to come away with a win.
“We're really happy to come away with maximum points after two very tough races at the beginning of the year. At this point in the season, we feel that we're back in the championship fight. We have three rounds coming up we believe we're quite strong at, as we've got a good baseline and foundation from previous years. We've had a lot of success at both Spa and Portimão in the past, so I don't see any reason why we can't be competitive and end the season on a high."