United Autosports is on the back foot following a session-ending accident for the No. 23 Ligier JS P217 Gibson that features Fernando Alonso in the lineup.
Alonso’s co-driver Phil Hanson stuffed the LMP2 car into the Turn 5 barriers early in the 60-minute session, on his fourth lap, resulting in the session’s only red flag.
As a result, Alonso and third driver Lando Norris did not get any seat time in the 60-minute session.
“I made a mistake,” Hanson said. “Like Fernando said, it’s better to do it today than on the race.
“The race is very important to not make any mistakes, stay consistent, stay out of trouble and stay out on the track.
“It’s just one of those things. Things like that happen. We’ll get the car fixed, get out in the next session, hopefully, and work still towards the race.”
The car sustained front bodywork damage and has also required a new steering rack following Hanson’s lock-up.
The setback comes following a challenging outing at the Roar for the Angl0-American team, which along with other Ligier runners, have been struggling for pace.
United’s sister No. 32 entry, driven by Bruno Senna, Paul Di Resta, Hugo de Sadeleer and Will Owen, posted the 16th quickest time in opening practice, nearly two seconds slower than the pace-setting Mazda RT24-P.
Hanson, however, is hopeful the team has turned the corner following its struggles earlier this month.
“The Roar was tough,” he said. “We had a few things we wanted to get the car sorted on, setup issues. But we’re getting out head around it now.
“It can only go upwards and I think the car will be a lot better than what we experienced in the first few sessions in the Roar.”