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Asian Le Mans Series

Algarve Pro Takes First Win of Season in 4H Fuji

Pizzitola, Newey hold off United Autosports crew to claim victory in 4 Hours of Fuji…

Photo: MPS Agency

Algarve Pro Racing’s Andrea Pizzitola and Harrison Newey won the Fuji round of the Asian Le Mans Series to make amends for their opening-round retirement in Shanghai.

Pizzitola, driving the Judd-powered No. 24 Ligier JS P2, held off Paul di Resta in the No. 22 United Autosports Ligier-Nissan after a late-race safety car bunched the field.

The reigning European Le Mans Series champion managed to draw out a gap on the ex-Formula 1 driver following the restart, with the two cars separated by 16.422 seconds at the finish.

The lead battle was a straight fight between the Algarve Pro and United Autosports entries, in variable weather conditions.

Defending LMP2 champion Newey swept around the outside of pole-sitter Hanson into the first corner before the positions switched during the opening round of pit stops when the field turned to wet tires.

Algarve Pro then re-took the advantage in the third hour by returning to slicks earlier than the United crew as the track dried, which set Pizzitola on course for the run to the flag.

Di Resta closed in when the Eurasia Motorsports LMP3 car spun off to trigger the safety car late on, but couldn’t find a way past Pizzitola at the end.

ARC Bratislava secured LMP2 Am Trophy honors in Fuji by finishing third overall with its No. 4 Ligier JS P2 Nissan driven by Darren Burke, Kang Ling and Miro Konopka.

Meanwhile, round one winners Pipo Derani, Come Ledogar and Alexander West dropped points by finishing three laps down in sixth with their Spirit of Race Ligier JS P2 Nissan. 

In LMP3, United Autosports beat Inter Europol Competition in a hotly-contested duel for secondary prototype class honors.

Jakub Smiechowski elevated the Shanghai-winning Inter Europol Ligier JS P3 Nissan into the lead in hour two, before handing over to Martin Hippe.

The German driver’s task in the final hour was to hold off Kay van Berlo in the United Ligier, but the positions swapped around as Van Berlo found a way past before going on to win by just under four seconds.

It marked the first win of the season for the No. 3 United car that the Dutchman shared with Matt Bell and Christian England.

Car Guy Racing extended its GT class championship lead with a second consecutive victory for James Calado, Kei Cozzolino and Takeshi Kimura.

Ferrari factory driver Calado brought home the Cary Guy Ferrari 488 GT3 with a one-lap advantage over the Spirit of Race Ferrari in second place.

Alessandro Pier Guidi, Francesco Piovanetti and Oswaldo Negri Jr saw the flag ahead of the two Tianshi Racing Team Audi R8 LMS GT3s that led early on but faded in the second half of the race.

RESULTS: 4H Fuji

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and various electric racing series.

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