United Autosports have won the third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Monza by a fantastic 57 seconds to second place.
Victory marks the second win of the 2021 season for the reigning champions, who also won the opening round of the season at Spa in May. Not only did the team finish on the top step of the LMP2 podium, but their solid effort during the six-hour race also put them on the overall podium in third place.
Phil Hanson took the start from second place and almost immediately took the lead at the first corner. An amazing double stint by the reigning WEC and ELMS champion saw him pit and hand the car over to long-time teammate, Filipe Albuquerque. A small delay in the pit stop dropped the #22 to second place, but they soon recovered to take back the lead on lap 70. A returning Fabio Scherer jumped in the #22 just after the halfway point of the race and maintained the lead, even stretching the gap to the second placed car during his double stint. Filipe got back into the Oreca with one hour and 20 minutes remaining and extended the team’s lead even more, while also setting the fastest lap of the race, crossing the line almost one minute ahead of second place.
This win is the team’s sixth WEC win, the third most by an LMP2 team. It also marks Phil Hanson’s sixth win, the most by any British driver. It was also Filipe’s eighth win in class, his sixth in the last seven races and United Autosports are only the fourth team in WEC history to score an overall podium.
United Autosports lead the FIA World Endurance LMP2 Championship by 18 points heading into the Le Mans 24 Hours on 21-22 August.
The next race for United Autosports is round four of the GT4 European Series at Spa Francorchamps on 29-31 July.
“It’s fantastic to get back the championship lead heading into Le Mans. Obviously Le Mans is such a big weekend for everyone and the fact it holds double points makes it a bit more scary. Heading into the race with the championship lead takes a bit of the pressure away. But Le Mans is the biggest race of the year so we will be pushing like mad. It’s been a fantastic weekend in Monza. I’m really happy that I was able to get into the lead at the first chicane and hold that lead right through my double stint. We got a bit unlucky with how things went after that, but managed to get back into the lead pretty soon and then after that everyone else tripped up and we kept our heads down and managed to come home with a 57-second lead so very good.”
“What an amazing weekend. After yesterday missing pole position by three hundredths, I think I put a little bit more energy and anger into race. Everything was looking good until that safety car, which nearly threw us off the race. But it didn’t and we went back into the lead and we controlled the race and pulled a gap which shows how strong we were. We were P1 and P2 all weekend. A brilliant job by the team and Phil and Fabio. It’s the first time we are on the overall podium as well so it’s been a dream weekend.”
“It’s unbelievable to win again. I’ve got a 100% strike rate so far winning in WEC so what could be better. It was a dream weekend again, it was tighter for sure than in Spa but in the race we were really strong. I’m really happy with my stints and my teammates. Engineering wise it was a fabulous job again. The only thing that hurts a bit is that I couldn’t race at Portimao. It couldn’t have gone better as preparation for Le Mans so I’m really excited and looking forward to that.”
“Wow – what a win. And to finish on the overall podium as well. How fantastic after all the hard work the team has put into this. Next stop Le Mans and I can’t wait to be there cheering the team on.”
“Our sixth WEC win sounds crazy in only 11 races. To say we have won over half the WEC races we have entered is amazing. All credit to the team for win. While it looked straight forward and to say we led so much of the race, it certainly didn’t feel straight forward in the garage. But still, to come away with another win and the championship lead heading into Le Mans is a great position to be in. Well done Phil, Filipe and Fabio and the whole team on a great win.”