ELMS

Double whammy for United Autosports at soggy Spa

Photo: United Autosports

United Autosports walked away from a shortened Four Hours of Spa Francorchamps with a win in both LMP2 and LMP3, while rivals G-Drive scraped enough points to seal the LMP2 championship. Ebimotors score their first win.

The Belgian weather gods threw everything they had at the European Le Mans Series today. The threat of thunderstorms brought the race start forward, but ultimately the day could not be saved, and the four-hour race was red flagged and cut short for safety. Benefitting massively from the abrupt finish were Anglo-American squad United Autosports who claimed victory in both prototype classes with the #22 of Phil Hanson and Filipe Alburquerque winning in LMP2 and the #2 car in the hands of John Falb and ELMS debutant Scott Andrews (Andrews standing in for an unwell Sean Rayhall) winning the LMP3 class.

Joining United on the LMP2 podium were the #21 Dragonspeed crew of Henrik Hedman, Ben Hanley and Nicolas Lapierre, and third-place finishers Timothe Buret, Julien Canal and Will Stevens in the #23 Panis Barthez Competition. Rounding out the LMP3 podium were RLR Msport’s John Farano, Job Van Uitert and Rob Garofall who finished second, and the #6 360 Racing squad of Terrence Woodward, Ross Kaiser and James Swift.

It may not have been a win like at Silverstone, but an 11th place finish for Russian squad G-Drive racing allowed the team to seal the LMP2 championship – even with the reduced points on offer. It looked for a while that the drivers were determined to throw points away, with Pizzitola making two consecutive trips into the gravel, and Jean Eric Vergne earning himself a two-minute stop-go penalty for an incident involving a Proton Competition Porsche and the APR-Rebellion Oreca LMP2. But there were celebrations all round in the G-Drive garage as Eduardo Freitas announced that the race would not be resuming, the team knew that the championship fight would not be continuing in Portugal.

Italian squad Ebimotors scored a maiden victory today thanks to Fabio Babini, Riccardo Pera and Bret Curtis – a vast improvement over their retirement at Silverstone. The team kept their Porsche 911 RSR out of trouble and made the most of the appalling conditions to take the win ahead of the #55 Spirit of Race and #88 Proton Competition.

The LMP2 championship may be provisionally sewn up, but it’s still all to play for in LMP3 and LMGTE as we head into the final round at Portimao next month.

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