Albuquerque hails "dream week" for United at Spa WEC

United Autosports LMP2 driver Filipe Albuquerque has praised his team for a "dream week" at Spa after dominating the opening round of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship.

Listen to this article

United Autosports, the Anglo-American team co-owned by Zak Brown and Richard Dean, picked up where it left off after winning the 2019/20 WEC LMP2 championship, setting the pace all week with the #22 Oreca 07-Gibson to win the Spa 6 Hours.

Lead driver Albuquerque set the second fastest time overall during the two-day WEC Prologue, ahead of two of the three Hypercar entrants, before claiming pole for Saturday's season opener.

During the race Phil Hanson comfortably established a lead, with Albuquerque expanding United's advantage to over a minute.

A drive-through for a full-course yellow infraction meant rookie Fabio Scherer's margin at the finish had shrunk to 44 seconds over the second-placed #38 JOTA Oreca of Antonio Felix da Costa, Roberto Gonzalez and Anthony Davidson, but United's fifth win since December 2019 never seemed in doubt.

"It's a dream week," Albuquerque said about United's Spa performance. "We were P1 since Monday, and it's quite incredible the pace that we were having here.

"Obviously, we only can achieve that when everyone is working together as a group; the mechanics preparing the car, the engineers, these two guys.

"We were just focused on what we needed to do and Fabio as a rookie, he did a faultless job. Congratulations to everyone at United and these two boys beside me, their performance is impressive."

Read Also:

Starting driver Hanson made a quick getaway and even threatened to take the lead on the first lap, before settling behind the more powerful Toyotas.

"It was quite interesting to pull alongside the Toyotas and momentarily I thought I'd be able to stay in first into Eau Rouge but obviously with their power they shot by pretty quick," Hanson said.

"It was a faultless weekend from United I think, we were P1 in every session and obviously starting on pole makes life a whole lot easier.

"Spa has always been good to us at United, so we're very comfortable when we come here. And I think today has been another great example of how strong United is."

United's Swiss rookie Scherer, who spent two years lost in the doldrums of FIA Formula 3 and DTM, said winning on his LMP2 and endurance racing debut was "really unbelievable" and admitted being nervous about his first-ever live driver changes.

"When I took over the car we had already quite a massive lead, but for sure I was really nervous especially about things like driver changing and stuff like that because I never had that before," the 21-year-old explained.

"I think I managed quite well and as soon as I got them into the rhythm, it was really good. I think I felt comfortable and never really struggled with something.

"To be part of such an amazing team and win your first WEC race after not the easiest last two years, it's unbelievable."

Albuquerque will not be racing with the team at his home race, June 13's 8 Hours Portimao, due to a date clash with his IMSA commitments at Wayne Taylor Racing. On Sunday United confirmed team regular Paul di Resta will be his replacement.

shares
comments

Related video

Toyota explains Kobayashi's race-deciding Spa off
Previous article

Toyota explains Kobayashi's race-deciding Spa off

Next article

Estre: Porsche Spa WEC triumph was "extremely stressful"

Estre: Porsche Spa WEC triumph was "extremely stressful"
How Toyota defeated Alpine for the 2022 WEC title Prime

How Toyota defeated Alpine for the 2022 WEC title

Toyota #8 trio Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa outscored their rivals in the last season before the World Endurance Championship’s top class gets ultra-competitive. Here's how their Hypercar battle with Alpine and the remaining class tussles played out in LMP2, GTE Pro and GTE Am

WEC
Dec 5, 2022
The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age Prime

The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age

The organisers of the World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship worked together to devise the popular new LMDh rule set. But to turn it from an idea into reality, some serious compromises were involved - both from the prospective LMDh entrants and those with existing Le Mans Hypercar projects...

IMSA
Nov 25, 2022
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Prime

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, are arguably the greatest sportscars of all time.

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Prime

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return Prime

The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return

The Peugeot 9X8 will make its FIA World Endurance Championship debut at Monza this weekend. The French manufacturer has gone radical and will be hoping it doesn’t need to overhaul its contender, as it did with its first Le Mans challenger…

WEC
Jul 8, 2022
How Formula E's double-duty drivers got on at Le Mans Prime

How Formula E's double-duty drivers got on at Le Mans

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
How junior formula giant Prema is readying for its Le Mans future Prime

How junior formula giant Prema is readying for its Le Mans future

Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans Prime

The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans

Three young Britons will make their first starts in the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend in the highly-competitive 23-car GTE Am field. But how did they get here? Motorsport.com hears their stories.

Le Mans
Jun 7, 2022