UNITED AUTOSPORTS SCORES THIRD TOP-FIVE MLMC PLACING OF SEASON - RNW | RacingNewsWorldwide.com | Your latest racing news



British duo Richard Meins and Christian England earned United Autosports its third Michelin Le Mans Cup top-five placing of the season at Spa-Francorchamps today (22 Sep). The “sister” Ligier JS P3 Nissans of Matt Bell (GB)/Jim McGuire (US) plus Naj Husain/Colin Braun (USA) posted 13th and 15th positions in the two-hour race held in typically wet and difficult conditions at the Belgian track. A brief rain shower in areas around the 3.7-mile track led to an exciting start to the penultimate round of the season. #32 (Husain), #23 (Meins) and #15th (McGuire) lined-up 10th, 13th and 15threspectively on the 24-car grid but were placed 5th (#32), 7th (#23) and 13th (#22) after a stunning opening lap by the wet-weather shod United trio as others were caught out on slicks in the slippery conditions. But on the second lap, #32 was hit from behind necessitating a pit-stop for bodywork repairs and a punctured front left tyre, Husain resuming at the tail of the field one lap down.

#23 & #22 lay 3rd and 15th after 30 minutes, the rain having returned after a dry track spell, McGuire having dropped outside the top-10 after a couple of non-contact spins. A Full Course Yellow (38 minutes) bunched the field up, Meins unsurprisingly slipping back up against higher graded drivers having started from his best qualifying position of the season, while the caution period allowed the #32, setting top-10 lap times, back onto the lead lap. #23 & #22 pitted for their compulsory pits-stops on 57 minutes from fifth and 14th class positions respectively with #32 stopping one lap later. With all stops completed, the rain still falling and 50 minutes remaining, #23 (England), #22 (Bell) and #32 (Braun) were placed 7th, 16th & 18th. On the resumption of the race after the second FCY and with less than four minutes remaining, #23, #22 and #32 were placed fourth, 14th & 16th in class, Christian, Matt and Colin taking the chequered flag fifth – demoted a place on the final lap but nevertheless the #23 scoring its best result of the season – 13th and 15th. The final round of the series is staged at Portimão in Portugal on 28 October.

Jim McGuire (US), driver car #22, United Autosports:
Born: New York, USA. Lives: San Francisco, USA. Age: 57
“Turn 1 was a very exciting place to be at the start with loads going on. I managed to survive that and made up places. Unfortunately after the wet start the track dried up and my ‘wets’ were burnt up by the time the rain came back and I was just ‘ice skating’. I survived a couple of spins, one in which I tapped the tyre wall, but it was still a good day at Spa!”

Matt Bell (GB), driver car #22, United Autosports:
Born: Newcastle, UK. Lives: Stamford, UK. Age: 28
“Wet races are great when you’ve got grip and awful when you haven’t! We gambled starting on wets but the dry laps after the wet start chewed up Jim’s tyres making life very difficult. When I took over I just had no grip whatsoever. I was second fastest in free practice in torrential rain admittedly with high downforce which we didn’t have for the race. But in the race I had no pace and twitchy at the rear, aquaplaning where others weren’t and sideways on the way up to Blanchimont which wasn’t pleasant.”

Richard Meins (GB), driver car #23, United Autosports:
Born: London, UK. Lives: Surrey, UK. Age: 63
“It was a brilliant race. We took a decision to change to wets on the grid and I tried to carefully thread my way through the guys who had started on slicks in the opening laps. Unfortunately the track dried out and I went ‘backwards’ until it rained again. After our Monza and Red Bull Ring disappointments, it’s nice to finally get some reward.”

Christian England (GB), driver #23, United Autosports:
Born: Barnsley, UK. Lives: Huddersfield, UK. Age: 36
“We chose to go low downforce this weekend and had a mega car in free practice but as Richard headed for the grid the weather took a turn for the worse but didn’t have the time to add more aero. It took me a few laps to get my head around the car when I took over from Richard who did a brilliant job. I was on the limit in the closing laps and I didn’t have an answer for the guys running the high downforce but we’ll take fifth which is our best result of the year. ”

Naj Husain (US), driver car #32, United Autosports:
Born: New Jersey, USA. Lives: Virginia, USA. Age: 55
“Qualifying went pretty well and I had a good start for my maiden Spa race. I made up places in the chaos at the start but then was clipped near the chicane which punctured the left front and bent the exhaust resulting in a four minute pit-stop for repairs. That caused the #32 to suffer for the remainder of the race but it was a really good learning curve and I’ve had a great time. ”

Colin Braun (USA), driver car #32, United Autosports:
Born: Texas, USA. Lives: North Carolina, USA Age: 30
“It was my first Spa race and it was a lot fun –my first laps in the race having taken over from Naj were my first here in the wet. There wasn’t a whole lot to fight for after Naj unluckily got hit at the start but had a good, steady stint. I enjoyed the experience and had fun. We’d have been in a good position had it not been for the early contact.”

Richard Dean, Team Owner and Managing Director, United Autosports:
“A great top-five for Richard and Christian. Our engineers made a great call on the grid to switch to wets. Richard was mega in the opening laps as was Naj while Jim impressively made up places too in the difficult conditions. The #32 car’s race was ruined when Naj was tagged early on and had to pit for repairs which was a shame as I believe our two Spa race débutants would have been on for a top-six and maybe even in the top-three. The #22, which had been super fast in free practice in similar wet conditions, just didn’t seem to have the pace today and we’ll look at the data to understand why that was.”

Source. United Autosports



David Martin-Janiak Motorsports has always been a passion for me, I've raced in Karting and now I have my own Motorsports news website, so i can help other racers convey their passion to the world!

Epic Crash videos and compilations