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Asian Le Mans Series

Di Resta Leads Both Practice Sessions at Yas Marina

United Autosports quickest on Friday ahead of Asian LMS double-header in Abu Dhabi…

Photo: Asian LMS

United Autosports driver Paul di Resta set the pace in both Free Practice for the season-ending Asian Le Mans Series double-header at Yas Marina Circuit.

Di Resta topped the opening 90-minute session with a time of 1:42.052 behind the wheel of the No. 23 United Autosports Oreca 07 Gibson, before removing around 1.3 seconds off his personal best to lead the afternoon session on a 1:40.754.

The 2018-19 Asian LMS champion is sharing the No. 23 Oreca with Josh Pierson, who is making his first appearance for United before tackling an FIA World Endurance Championship program with the team.

United Autosports tested at Yas Marina last weekend while the Asian LMS season-opener took place at Dubai Autodrome. Pierson was unable to compete in the Dubai double-header because he only turned the minimum participation age of 16 on Monday.

Ben Hanley ranked second quickest on Friday for Nielsen Racing, which swept the Dubai weekend with its Oreca lineup that also includes Matt Bell and Rodrigo Sales.

Hanley put Nielsen third behind United and Graff in FP1, before rising to second in FP2 with a time of 1:41.853 that was around a second shy of Di Resta’s outright pace.

Graff driver David Droux ended up third overall courtesy of his 1:42.389 set during the morning run, while Anders Fjordbach was fourth for High Class Racing with a 1:42.697 marker that came in the afternoon.

Laurents Hoerr set the pace in the LMP3 class aboard the DKR Engineering Duqueine D08 Nissan.

The German driver reeled off a 1:47.748 around the recently-modified Yas Marina course to lead the opening session.

Nico Pino went to the top in FP2, but the Chilean racer’s 1:48.162 was only good enough for third across the two sessions behind Hoerr and G-Drive Racing’s Xavier Lloveras.

Arjun Maini swept the Free Practice times in the GT class, driving for the Haupt Racing Team Mercedes-AMG squad.

Maini, who was recently named as HRT driver in the DTM for this year, posted a 1:51.739 in the first session and a slightly slower 1:51.904 in the second bout of track action.

Klaus Bachler ended Friday as the second-quickest GT driver in the No. 33 Porsche 911 GT3 R from Herberth Motorsport, just two-thousands of a second behind Maini.

Bachler’s Porsche did not take part in the second session following an incident for the Austrian’s co-driver Yifei Ye. There was also trouble for the Dinamic Motorsport Porsche which returned to the paddock on a flat bed truck after encountering an issue on track.

The sister Herberth Porsche with Robert Renauer at the wheel came through in third, with Jonny Adam taking fourth in the No. 95 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

Qualifying for the two four-hour races at Yas Marina will take place one after the other on Saturday morning, with the first group starting at 9:35 a.m. local time (12:35 a.m. ET).

The third race of the Asian LMS season is to begin at 2:30 p.m. (5:30 a.m. ET) on Saturday, with the season finale taking place on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. (7:30 a.m. ET).

RESULTS: Free Practice 1 / Free Practice 2

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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