United Autosports win both races as Nielsen Racing secure the title!
United Autosports made a one-off, guest appearance, its driver line-up featuring experienced racer Paul Di Resta, supporting and training Josh Pierson, his fresh-faced (16 year-old) American team-mate, a former karting and single-seater driver.
The United Autosports crew lived up to their status as pre-event favourites, casting a shadow over the rest of the field. In their Gibson-powered Oreca 07, the two men made good use of TotalEnergies’ Excellium Endurance fuel to claim pole position for both races, before then going on to secure two dominant wins and complete a flawless weekend. Pierson showcased his huge potential and growing maturity throughout the meeting, ahead of his forthcoming debut in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
Fellow British team Nielsen Racing – two-time winners a week earlier in Dubai – finished behind United Autosports, its three drivers (Ben Hanley, Matt Bell and Rodrigo Sales) claiming runner-up spots in both races. Their strong performance secured the team entry at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans in the LMP2 class.
In the LMP3 class, the opening race at the Yas Marina track was won by DKR Engineering’s Nissan-powered Duqueine M30-D08 (Laurent Hörr, Mathieu de Barbuat and Sebastian Alvarez), beating Rinaldi Racing’s sister car (Leonard Weiss, Torsten Kratz and Hendrik Still) and CD Sport’s no. 27 Nissan-powered Ligier JS P320 driven by Christophe Cresp, Antoine Doquin and Steven Palette. Race two was a different matter, won by G-Drive Racing’s Nissan-powered Ligier JS P320 driven by Fabrice Rossello, Xavier Lloveras and Viacheslav Gutak, who finished ahead of CD Sport’s two prototypes, as Cresp, Doquin and Palette edged out their team-mates Michael Jensen, Nick Adcock and French driver Édouard Cauhaupé. The weekend’s results ensured CD Sport secured the class title, earning them a place at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Lastly, in the GT class, Herberth Motorsport enjoyed a clean sweep, as Alfred and Robert Renauer, along with Ralf Bohn, won both races in the no. 91 Porsche. However, Inception Racing’s no.7 McLaren 720S GT3 (Brendan Iribe, Ollie Millroy and Ben Barnicoat) topped the GT standings, meaning they will line up at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.