United Autosports have scored three podiums on their Asian Le Mans Series debut at Shanghai, China today (25 November).
The day began under a cloud of fog, with doubt hanging over the early start time of 09:30. Luckily, the fog lifted and the sun came out just as the pits opened and teams made their way to the grid.
Guy Cosmo, Patrick Byrne and Salih Yoluc stood on the podium twice as they finished third overall and first in the LMP2 Pro Am class after suffering from a puncture as Guy just began his stint half way through the race. Patrick started the race from fifth in the #23 Ligier JS P2 and made a good start to be running third for the early part of the race. Salih took over into the second hour and ran second overall for a large part of his drive, pitting to Guy who held his position until the puncture. Guy held on until the end, bringing the Ligier home for the class win.
Phil Hanson and Paul Di Resta finished second after battling for the win for the majority of the race. Phil qualified the #22 Ligier JS P2 on Saturday, putting the car on the second row of the grid, in third place. Phil had a difficult start to the race after contact with another car knocked him down the order. Ultimately, he fought back through the field and pitted, handing the car over to Paul in the lead of the race. Unfortunately, both safety car periods affected the team’s strategy meaning they had to settle for second place.
The series now moves onto Fuji in Japan in two weeks, with the race being held on Sunday 9th December.
Guy Cosmo (US), driver car #23, United Autosports:
Born: New York, USA. Lives: Palm Beach Gardens, USA. Age: 41
“I’m feeling pretty good right now. It was a great effort by the whole team. We had a bit of an issue when the weekend began and we were scratching our heads. But the strength of United Autosports really shone, because they really dug deep to find the issue with the car. To come away with a win in our class and third overall is exactly what we were hoping for. It’s encouraging to say we will be going into the remainder of the championship looking stronger.”
Patrick Byrne (US), driver car #23, United Autosports:
Born: Colorado, USA. Lives: Washington, USA. Age: 28
“What a fantastic result – a win in class and third overall. You’ve got to love that! I’m really happy with the team. We were tight on fuel but everyone did a fantastic job and it’s no surprise United did that. It’s also no surprise that my team mates are driving the best they can too. Bring on Fuji.”
Salih Yoluc (TUR), driver car #23, United Autosports:
Born/Lives: Istanbul, Turkey. Age: 33
“At the beginning of the race we had a mixed start. The race was interesting with the safety cars. We managed our pace well and we got a podium overall too, which I think it the most impressive part of the result. I’m really looking forward to Fuji, I love the track and raced there only a few months ago.”
Zak Brown, Team Owner and Chairman, United Autosports:
“I think we’ve had a good opening weekend in the Asian Le Mans Series. Three podiums is a good result and we have shown with all four of our cars that we have the pace to win.”
Richard Dean, Team Owner and Managing Director, United Autosports:
“It’s fantastic to win with Guy, Patrick and Salih and even better that they were on the podium overall. It was a difficult start to the week for them but they were really professional and patient and we worked our way through a couple of things and got them a car that they were capable of doing what they did in. Disappointed that we led for such a long time in both LMP3 and LMP2 and ended up second in both those, but it’s not a bad start.”