“Very happy to have achieved our goal of winning the championship and a Le Mans entry but disappointed in not doing it with a second consecutive race win.”
HANSON CLAIMS OUTRIGHT ASIAN LE MANS SERIES TITLE
Phil Hanson brilliantly earned himself the overall Asian Le Mans Series title when the British teenager along with co-driver Paul Di Resta placed their United Autosports Ligier JS P2 second in the fourth and final round at Sepang today (24 Feb).
A win in Thailand combined with second places in China and Japan saw them finish 11-points ahead in the title race to secure the Anglo-American team the title at its first attempt, a stunning performance that crucially also earns United a coveted automatic Le Mans 24 Hour race entry for this year.
With the ambient temperature once again above 30ºC, Phil started from the front-row for the third consecutive race, and ran P2 in the opening laps but took the lead 14mins into the race when the pole-sitting #8 was adjudged to have jumped the start and was given a penalty.
At one-quarter distance and following all opening scheduled pit-stops, the #22 led by 45secs. With almost 90mins on the clock and the #22 with a very healthy 51secs lead, the Safety Car was deployed with a car momentarily stationary on the track. Hanson pitted to Di Resta, the Scot resuming P3 but was P2 at mid-distance.
Hanson, who became the youngest Asian LMS champion when he claimed the LMP3 title in the 2016-17 season, was back in the #22 Ligier with 102mins remaining still P2. But the BRDC SuperStar had to serve a 20secs time penalty at a pit-stop late in the race for an earlier pit-stop infringement while Di Resta, in the #22 for the final 14mins, took the chequered flag 103secs behind the winning #24.
Phil Hanson: “Very happy to have achieved our goal of winning the championship and a Le Mans entry but disappointed in not doing it with a second consecutive race win. The start and opening phase of the race was really good for me and I pulled out a good lead, over 50 secs to #8 and almost 90secs to our #24 title rivals before, in my opinion, a relatively uncalled for need for a Safety Car destroyed our strategy. We picked up a pit penalty when a wheel nut rolled on the floor during a tyre change and so after that we coasted home to the finish. I managed a good lap in qualifying having gambled on a car set-up for that time of the day and track conditions based on what we’d learned from Friday’s practice. ”
Paul Di Resta: “We’ve won the title but also the series was about me helping to develop Phil as much as I could in preparation for ELMS, Le Mans and WEC during the coming year. He’s consistently produced excellent performances in the four events.”
Zak Brown, Team Owner and Chairman, United Autosports:
“Massive congratulations to Phil and Paul who secured the team a Le Mans entry which is magnificent news. They’ve had an awesome season and I’m proud as to what they have accomplished.”
Richard Dean, Team Owner and Managing Director, United Autosports:
“Our aim was us to get Phil well-prepared for the forthcoming ELMS and then WEC seasons this year and that was achieved. #22 had it all under control in terms of the race win before the first Safety Car appeared and wiped out our massive lead over the #24.”
Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia
24 February 2019
- Hanson claims outright Asian Le Mans Series title