Di Resta bags first WEC win 15 | 12 | 2019

    BATHGATE’S PAUL DI RESTA claimed his first win in the FIA World Endurance Championship when he powered his United Autosports Oreca to LMP2 victory in the 8 Hours of Bahrain. (Related: Paul di Resta commits to WEC and Le Mans 24-Hours)

    The 33-year-old Scot, partnered by England’s Phil Hanson and Portuguese Filipe Albuquerque, delivered a faultless performance as the trio dominated the eight-hour race.

    "It was a textbook race for us,” Di Resta, who started the race, on the 3.36-mile Bahrain International Circuit, from pole position, stated.

    “The start was chaotic, but I managed to steer clear of everything although a Toyota, re-joining the track quite sharply, caught the right rear of our car. (Related: Paul di Resta seals Asian LMP2 title)

    “I managed to extend our lead but always had to keep an eye on tyre management which was the key to this race.

    “It's very nice to get this victory and end the year on a high having previously been on the cusp of doing it in other races. There's everything to fight for now in terms of the title."

    Di Resta took advantage of a first corner melee at the start of the race to run second overall in the opening laps, only dropping from the outright top-three with 18 minutes gone. (Related: Di Resta to lead Aston Martin assault on DTM)

    After 84 minutes, the Scot handed over to Hanson 29 seconds ahead, the young British rising sportscar star putting in a solid, consistent error-free two stints to extend the lead to 52 seconds.

    Albuquerque continued the Michelin-shod #22 Oreca's meteoric pace, setting sub 1m50s lap times to maintain their healthy advantage.


    Hanson and Di Resta impressively cycled through, both meticulously managing the very high tyre degradation around the circuit which compromised their lead, along with losing time with a sticking front wheel nut at an earlier pit-stop. Albuquerque took over driver duties with 83 minutes remaining. Armed with a new set of rubber, the Portuguese was immediately under the 1m50s lap time. With a lead of 32 seconds with 60 minutes remaining, the Portuguese driver then set about matching the lap times of his chasing pursuers to save fuel.

    Di Resta’s #22 Oreca ultimately took the chequered flag 21.5 seconds ahead of the second-placed LMP2 finisher. Amazingly, it was also fourth overall in the 31-car field, with only the more powerful LMP1 cars of Toyota and Rebellion ahead of it.

    “That was an awesome result for United Autosports,” Zak Brown, Team Owner and Chairman, United Autosports, and McLaren F1 boss, said.

    “I'm very proud of everyone connected with the team. We comfortably led the first half of the race, the second half appeared tight at times but our engineers had it all in hand with a superb strategy. All three drivers performed magnificently as did the entire team."

    Di Resta returns to WEC action with United Autosports at the next round, at the Circuit of The Americas in Texas on February 23.

    Related: Paul di Resta storms to Brands Hatch win

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    Jim McGill


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