Paul di Resta and 16-year-old American Josh Pierson combined to claim a dominant victory in Saturday’s penultimate Asian Le Mans Series round of the season at Yas Marina Circuit.
The United Autosports duo took their No. 23 Oreca 07 Gibson to a one-lap win in the 4 Hours of Abu Dhabi over LMP2 championship leaders Nielsen Racing, which swept the opening two races of the season at the Dubai Autodrome.
United did not enter the Dubai double-header due to Pierson only becoming the legal age to compete in the ACO-run series on Monday.
Pierson drove an ironman three-hour and nine-minute stint — which included a red flag period due to track cleanup from a fire by the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P320 Nissan — before handing over to di Resta with a one-lap lead over the Nielsen Oreca of Rodrigo Sales, Matt Bell and Ben Hanley.
With the second place result, the Nielsen trio have all but wrapped up the LMP2 title and automatic invite to this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans but will need to be classified in Sunday’s season finale in order to be officially crowned champions.
LMP2 Pro-Am class honors went to the No. 39 Graff Racing Oreca of David Droux, Eric Trouillet and Sebastien Page, courtesy of a Droux’s late-race pass on the No. 49 High Class Racing entry of Anders Fjordbach, who had to settle for a fourth place overall result.
The No. 2 DKR Engineering Duqueine D08 Nissan of Laurents Horr, Sebastian Alvarez and Mathieu de Barbuat picked up LMP3 class honors after missing out on class wins at the opening two races in Dubai.
Horr finished 22.957 seconds ahead of the No. 22 Rinaldi Racing Duqueine of Hendrick Still, with the No. 27 CD Sport Ligier completing the class podium.
Herberth Porsche Takes GT Class Honors
The No. 91 Herberth Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 R of Alfred and Robert Renauer and Ralf Bohn came out on top in the GT class, edging out the points-leading No. 7 Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3, which finished second in class.
Inception’s Ben Barnicoat managed to reduce a 13-second gap following Robert Renauer’s final pit stop to 6.2 seconds at the line.
The No. 17 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 of Vince Abril, Louis Prette and Conrad Grunewald completed the class podium in third.
GT Pro-Am class honors, meanwhile, went to the No. 57 Kessel Racing Ferrari of Axcil Jefferies, Roman Ziemian and Francesco Zollo, which broke SPS Automotive Performance’s two-race win streak.
The fourth and final race of the season gets under way Sunday at 4:30 p.m. local time (7:30 a.m. ET).
RESULTS: 4H Abu Dhabi (Race 1)