It’s been a perfect start to the 2020 season as United Autosports take a second double win in the European Le Mans series making it two from two.
Phil Hanson and Felipé Albuquerque led the United Autosports Oreca to the chequered flag as the G-Drive Aurus crashed out of the race lead in the final hour at Spa-Francorchamps.
The race got underway in temperatures already breaking the 30 Degrees barrier. The #22 United Autosports Oreca soon found themselves locked in battle with the #26 G-Drive Racing Aurus. Mikkel Jensen in the #26 G-Drive Aurus kept with Hanson in the #22 United Autosports Oreca, an early safety car intervention brought the pair back together for a second restart essentially. Jensen managed to squeeze by Hanson heading up the Kemmel Straight, the rivals would continue to battle throughout the hours, shuffling through pit stop cycles.
Once again a Full Course Yellow would be a definitive moment in the race as Jensen was caught up in traffic in the restart, Albuquerque would snatch the lead away. The pairing would continue off into the lead again, Jensen once again found an opportunity to take the lead at Les Combes.
Greasy track conditions ahead brought this almighty battle to a premature end as Jensen lost the going through Pouhon. The car twitched as Jensen rode the outside kerb, Jensen tried to correct but the car gripped and headed direct to the barrier damaging the car and retiring a potential race winner the chance to be on the podium.
The drama wasn’t finished yet though for the podium, the #39 Graff Racing Oreca was holding second but had a strong looking Tristan Gommendy in the #30 Duqueine Oreca who had just taken this position and was closing down Thomas Laurent in the #39 Graff Oreca. On the final lap of the race and Gommendy was chasing down Laurent but a puncture for Gommendy ruined his race with only a few corners remaining.
Laurent would hold onto the second place for himself along with James Allen and Alexndre Cougnard who the car is shared with Gommendy limping back on 3 inflated tyres means he would lose the final step on the podium to Will Stevens in the #31 Panis Racing Oreca also shared with Julian Canal and Nicolas Jamin.
Wayne Boyd, Tom Gamble, and Rob Wheldon took the #2 United Autosports LMP3 to a second consecutive class win. The race winning trio lead the way as they pulled away from the field. The trio remained unchallenged throughout the full 4 hours with the #7 Neilsen Racing Duqueine M30 in second place.
Third on the podium would be the #11 EuroInternational Ligier LMP3 with Thomas Erdos and Niko Kari. That luck wasn’t felt all the way through the team though as the #13 Inter Europol Competition with Martin Hippe onboard, found it’s way into the barrier after contacting another LMP3 car. This resulted in the the early safety car to neutralise the field as the car was requiring to be recovered from the barriers.
Kessel Racing was victorious in the GTE class with the #74 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo of David Perel, Michael Broniszewski, and Marcos Gomes after a topsy-turvy race. Ferrari enjoyed a one-two finish thanks to the #88 AF Corse car of Francois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Harrison Newey.
Aston Martin Racing was third with the #98 Aston Martin Vantage driven by Paul Dalla Lana, Mathias Lauda and Augusto Farfus who made his debut with the team.
The Aston Martin had led in the opening portion of the four-hour encounter as the Kessel Racing Ferrari and #77 Proton Competition 911 RSR also engaged in the GTE lead battle. Proton Competition found itself out front until Michele Beretta had a spin at Raidillon which handed the top spot back over to Kessel Racing.
Shortly before the end of the first hour, the #60 Iron Lynx Ferrari went hard into the wall after being tapped by the #32 United Autosports LMP2 entry of Will Owen for which the latter received a stop-and-go penalty.