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Albuquerque Holds off Roussel to Win 4H Red Bull Ring

Albuquerque holds off Roussel to win 4H Red Bull Ring for United Autosports…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Filipe Albuquerque held off Leo Roussel to win the Four Hours of Red Bull Ring on Sunday afternoon, taking the second victory of the European Le Mans Series season for the United Autosports crew.

While pole-sitter Roussel was in the faster car in the closing stages of the race, the G-Drive Racing driver was unable to close the gap enough to pass Albuquerque.

By the end of the race, the DragonSpeed-run G-Drive Oreca 07 Gibson finished just 4.5 seconds behind the United Autosports Ligier JS P217 Gibson.

Albuquerque and co-drivers Will Owen and Hugo de Sadeleer still trail the G-Drive crew in the championship standings but have closed their gap to four points with three ELMS races remaining.

The race to the finish was set up by a late pit stop for fuel by Albuquerque with 18 minutes left, and the Portuguese driver exited the pits with a 12-second lead over Roussel, who had made his final stop several laps earlier.

The lead throughout the race swapped between the United Autosports, G-Drive and SMP Racing cars. 

Matevos Isaakyan and Egor Orudzhev opted for a different pit strategy to the rest of the LMP2 field and so ran in the lead at various stages of the race in the ELMS debut for the SMP-run Dallara P217 Gibson.

The young Russian drivers finished fifth in their first race in LMP2 machinery. 

Graff managed to put its pair of Orecas into third and fourth after a fairly quiet race for the French team. Enzo Guibbert took the No. 39 car to the finish line ahead of the sister car driven by Richard Bradley.

While it had frequently posted the fastest lap times in the build-up to the weekend, topping both Free Practice sessions, the No. 21 DragonSpeed car had a disappointing race which ended in the car stopping on track with Henrik Hedman at the wheel.

This called the race’s only Full Course Yellow with one hour remaining although there were many other incidents throughout the four-hour contest.

United Autosports won the LMP3 category with its No. 2 Ligier JS P3 Nissan driven by John Falb and Sean Rayhall, beating the Eurointernational car that had led most of the race and surviving a drive-through penalty for track limits in the final five minutes.

The American driver came out of the pit lane around two seconds clear of the Eurointernational Ligier driven by Davide Uboldi.

It is the second time this season that the Anglo-American United Autosports squad won in both LMP2 and LMP3, following a similar success at the season-opening Four Hours of Silverstone in April. 

The GTE class hosted a battle between the three Ferrari 488 GTEs for most of the race but Matt Griffin’s Spirit of Race car took the checkered flag with a 40-second lead over the 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning JMW Motorsport car.

It is the first win of the season for the No. 55 Ferrari of Griffin, Duncan Cameron and Aaron Scott.

TF Sport made sure it wasn’t an all-Ferrari podium however, as Nicki Thiim beat Giorgio Roda to third position in the closing stages, while the Italian had to sett for fourth in the No. 51 Spirit of Race entry.

RESULTS: Four Hours of Red Bull Ring

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist focusing on European series for Sportscar365. Kilshaw was the founder of WorldSportsCar.co.uk and is a member of the Autosport Academy. Contact Jake

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Jo

    July 23, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    Can’t wait to see this team at Daytona next year! They do such a great job.

  2. Mamozrenesis

    July 23, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Happy to see that with the right teams (United Autosport and SMP racing) with the right drivers Ligier and Dallara can fight Oreca for the overall win. This is a good sign for the variety of the cars in the Lmp2 field.

    Speaking about GT… I think that ELMS should open the door to GT3 cars. A 6-car field is too small for an “European” series!

    • daedalus

      July 23, 2017 at 5:04 pm

      it was the Orecas le mans aero kit that has an advantage in the 24h races but when they are all running the sprint aero kits there is nothing to choose between them.

      Gt3 used to run in ELMS but now there is the le mans cup for gt3 cars which runs at same weekend as ELMS. They were thrown out of ELMS to make way for the large increase in LMP3 cars. Even though there was only 6 cars the racing was still very close. GTE is designed for factory teams really, hence the high cost and low car count in ELMS.

      All the classes were close today and only decided in last half hour, made for some great racing!

    • Andy Flinn

      July 26, 2017 at 2:22 pm

      Mamozrenesis, it also helps that they’re racing in the right European series.

      Congratulations to United Autosports on their second ELMS victory.

      I’ve already ordered my tickets for Daytona and look forward to seeing the team racing in IMSA next year.

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