Alexandre Coigny and Malthe Jakobsen secured victory for Cool Racing in the first of two Abu Dhabi races in the Asian Le Mans Series in a contest that was red-flagged for more than 40 minutes due to barrier repairs.
Jakobsen took the No. 37 Oreca 07 Gibson across the line and was classified 34 seconds ahead of the No. 23 United Autosports car of Yasser Shahin, Garnet Patterson and Oliver Jarvis.
The Danish up-and-comer found himself sitting in third position behind both the No. 22 United Oreca of Phil Hanson and the No. 25 Algarve Pro Racing machine of Kyffin Simpson going into the race’s final hour.
However, in contrast to Cool, United had not yet made the third and final mandatory 100-second timed pitstop. Similarly, Algarve Pro had mistimed its previous service by a second, meaning it too had to make a long final stop.
This allowed Jakobsen to vault up from third to first place, after which he was able to carry on to secure his first victory in LMP2 competition.
The victory was the culmination of a strong showing from the 19-year-old, who solely shared the car with Coigny after third driver Nicolas Lapierre opted to step down for the Abu Dhabi leg to allow his protege more track time.
Jakobsen took over the car in the second half of the contest and spent the early part of his stint performing several overtakes and putting Peugeot Hypercar driver di Resta under significant pressure for second place.
Di Resta, Hanson and Jim McGuire came across the line in second place, but were hit with a 35-second penalty after the race because the No. 22 car was found to have failed to complete one of the mandatory three pitstops within the prescribed time.
The penalty dropped the No. 22 car to fifth overall, promoting the No. 3 DKR Engineering Oreca of Charlie Eastwood, Salih Yoluc and Ayhancan Guven to third place.
Nolan Siegel, Charles Crews and Christian Bogle were classified fourth aboard the No. 43 Inter Europol Competition Oreca, with Nielsen Racing sixth and 99 Racing seventh.
Algarve Pro Racing received a similar, 35-second penalty as United Autosports, which made an already disappointing race outcome for the team worse.
Kyffin Simpson was in the hunt for a podium spot, pressuring the No. 23 car of Oliver Jarvis when he lost control of the No. 25 Oreca and spun into the barrier at Turn 16 in the closing minutes of the race.
He eventually managed to get the car re-fired, but tumbled to last place in the LMP2 standings, which was further compounded by the post-race penalty.
Nielsen Racing came out on top to take LMP3 class victory, with Tony Wells and Matt Bell securing the race lead during the final round of stops.
Bell’s No. 4 Ligier JS P320 Nissan beat the No. 29 MV2S Racing Ligier of Fabien Lavergne off pit road with just over 40 minutes remaining.
Lavergne, Jerome de Sadeleer and Viacheslav Gutak had led the race since taking it from pole sitters WTM by Rinaldi Racing, but Bell was able to extend the gap to 14.7 seconds at the finish.
The Rinaldi-run No. 11 Duqueine D08 Nissan driven by Torsten Kranz, Leo Weiss and Nico Varrone completed the podium.
Haupt Mercedes Claims GT Class Honors
Haupt Racing Team scored a dominant victory in the GT class, with Al Faisal Al Zubair, Luca Stolz and Martin Konrad taking the No. 7 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 17.8 seconds clear of the No. 91 Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R.
The black Mercedes moved into the lead after a round of stops under caution in hour three and controlled the race from there, with Harry King, Alex Malykhin and Joel Sturm second.
Gabriel Rindone, Marco Mapelli and Brendon Leitch completed the podium aboard the No. 19 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.
The GT class was the scene of several incidents in the opening hour of the contest, culminating with a hard crash for Formula Racing’s Johnny Laursen that led to a red flag.
Laursen, piloting the No. 60 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020, was pitched hard into the guardrail on driver’s left near the entry to Turn 1 after reported contact with a prototype, inflicting extensive damage to both the car and the barriers and the lengthy red flag.
RESULTS: Abu Dhabi Race 1 (Updated)