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PAUL RICARD TO HOST NEXT ELMS AND MICHELIN LE MANS CUP ROUNDS FOR UNITED AUTOSPORTS

United Autosports make their way to Paul Ricard this weekend (26-27 August) for round four of both the European Le Mans Series and Michelin Le Mans Cup.

The team arrives in France fresh from their LMP2 win last time out at Red Bull Ring, when Will Owen, Hugo de Sadeleer and Filipe Albuquerque drove a flawless race to close the gap in the championship to only four points.

John Falb and Sean Rayhall will be looking to move further ahead in the LMP3 Championship as they lead the standings after three rounds. Mark Patterson, Wayne Boyd and Christian England will be hoping for some better luck at Le Castellet after their DNF in Austria.

Over in the Michelin Le Mans Cup team, Andrew Bentley will be teaming up with Richard Meins for the Paul Ricard round as Shaun Lynn is unable to race this weekend. Andrew has been driver coach for Richard and Shaun this year and has helped them improve their pace each weekend. Jim McGuire and Matt Bell will be aiming for a top six finish after their strong pace at Red Bull Ring.

The two-hour Michelin Le Mans Cup race will be held on Saturday 26th August at 16:00, with the 4 Hours of Le Castellet ELMS race starting at 12:00 on Sunday 27thAugust.

John Falb (US), driver #2, United Autosports:
Born: Dallas, Texas. Lives: Las Vegas, Nevada. Age: 45
“We have had some great results in the first half of the season and I am ready to push hard during the rest of the year. Paul Ricard is a fun track and I really enjoy the fast sections. While there’s not a lot of elevation changes, the track presents sweeping turns that are difficult to master. The team has been performing flawlessly and I hope we can find some more improvements with the car.”

Sean Rayhall (US), driver #2, United Autosports:
Born/Lives: Atlanta, Georgia. Age: 22
“I’m really excited to get to Paul Ricard with United Autosports. I think the track layout with the chicane is going to suit us well and I’m ready to get back to work with the boys. They did a fantastic job working through our dramas at Red Bull Ring and I’m confident with how well John is performing that we can get back on the top step!”

Mark Patterson (US), driver #3, United Autosports:
Born: Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Lives: Montana, USA. Age: 65
“I’m looking forward to racing again on this challenging Paul Ricard course – maybe the fifth or sixth time. I’m not sure bisecting the long back straight will increase the intrigue of the race, but we look forward to regaining some positions in the championship standings after some tough luck at the wonderful Red Bull Ring event.”

Wayne Boyd (GB), driver #3, United Autosports:
Born: Belfast, Northern Ireland. Lives: Templepatrick, Northern Ireland. Age: 26
“I can’t wait to get back into the car again after how our Red Bull Ring race went. We will put that behind us and focus on a win at Paul Ricard to get our championship chase back on track. I think the change of layout for Paul Ricard will help us in terms of the straight-line speed shown by the Norma and create a good passing opportunity. I enjoyed driving here last year. It’s quite a technical track and takes everything to be perfect to get a fast lap in.”

Christian England (GB), driver #3, United Autosports:
Born: Barnsley, UK. Lives: Huddersfield, UK. Age: 35
“I’m looking forward to the next race at Paul Ricard. Our season so far has not gone to plan in terms of results but we have had the pace to win and our aim at Paul Ricard is to do exactly that. We now need to push hard if we want to close the gap in the championship and all our crew are focusing on doing that. Ricard was a very good circuit for me personally last year so hopefully we can be on the top step this year.”

Will Owen (US), driver #32, United Autosports:
Born: Plano, Texas. Lives: Denver, Colorado. Age: 22
“The United Autosports LMP2 team has approached this season really well so far. Three rounds finished and two wins has been incredible. We have done a lot of things well, but certainly there are some points that everyone can still work on. Perfecting the basic strategies that we have will be important as other teams sort themselves out and fix their errors too. Personally, I feel good about Paul Ricard because it is a track that I have already tested at, so my goal is to approach it with the same vigour that I had in Red Bull Ring. The racing in the ELMS series has been close this year and there are some other really good teams that are always difficult to beat. To win it always comes back to the same thing – if we perform the best we can during the race weekend that will give us the best possible chance to be on the top step.”

Hugo de Sadeleer (CH), driver #32, United Autosports:
Born: Lausanne, Switzerland. Lives: Monaco. Age: 20
“I think Paul Ricard is a track I’ve learnt to appreciate over the years. Having driven in Blancpain GT Series and Formula Renault has helped me understand the track in greater detail. Fortunately we will get a test day right before the event which is vital for the whole team after our summer break. I’m confident that we can score some major points and hopefully come out on top on Ligier’s homeground.”

Filipe Albuquerque (P), driver #32, United Autosports:
Born/Lives: Coimbra, Portugal. Age: 32
“Obviously I am optimistic for the next race because of our win at the Red Bull Ring. The team is working very well together, it feels like we have known each other for many years. For Paul Ricard, I think it will be a bit harder in terms of pure performance comparing to the Red Bull Ring, but on the other hand tyre degradation will be a bigger issue and that is to our advantage. For sure it will be very challenging again as it was in the last races but I want to leave Ricard in the lead of the championship.”

Jim McGuire (US), driver car #22, United Autosports:
Born: New York, USA. Lives: San Francisco, USA. Age: 56
Racing our AERO-painted Ligier JS P3 through Europe has been a tremendous experience. The fantastic team at United Autosports and my team mate, Matt Bell have been working very hard to get me up to speed at so many new tracks. The next race will be at another legendary circuit in Paul Ricard. I can’t wait to run our Ligier down the Mistral straight!”

Matt Bell (GB), driver car #22, United Autosports:
Born: Newcastle, UK. Lives: Stamford, UK. Age: 27
“I’m excited for Paul Ricard because I like the circuit and I’m really enjoying Michelin Le Mans Cup this year. It’s a new circuit for Jim but we will do a test day in the build-up to the weekend so we’ll make sure he has a lot of laps and seat time to get the circuit under his belt. We’ll certainly be aiming for a top six finish again.”

Richard Meins (GB), driver car #23, United Autosports:
Born: London, UK. Lives: Surrey, UK. Age: 62
“August in the South of France and another classic circuit. The Michelin Le Mans Cup series just keeps on getting better. I have not raced there before so it will be a new experience but it looks like a great facility. We were very pleased with our qualifying last time out in Austria so hoping we can continue the trend. Unfortunately, Shaun has to miss the next race so Andrew Bentley will be taking his place for this one event and I am looking forward to driving with Andrew, who has also been our driver coach this year. I am hoping we can pull everything together and deliver a good result.”

Andrew Bentley (GB), driver car #23, United Autosports:
Born: Royston, UK. Lives: Northampton, UK. Age: 37
“I’ve enjoyed working with Richard and Shaun this season, so when I learnt that Shaun was unable to race at Paul Ricard and they wanted me to stand in for him, I was really honoured. I’m excited about the opportunity for me. The Ligier JS P3 is a great car, United Autosports are superb and I would love to do more in the future, but I know my job over the weekend is to help Richard have the best result possible so all our efforts will be on that.”

Zak Brown, Team Owner and Chairman, United Autosports:
“We are heading into the Paul Ricard races in a good position championship wise. We lead the LMP3 championship and are only four points off the lead in LMP2. Hopefully we can get some more good results to extend our lead over the rest of the field.”

Richard Dean, Team Owner and Managing Director, United Autosports:
“Our aim this weekend is to score as many points as possible in both LMP2 and LMP3. We have won two out of three LMP2 races so far this year and although Paul Ricard will prove challenging, all the races have been so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t aim for another win. John and Sean were very unlucky at Red Bull Ring and Mark, Christian and Wayne need to get some good results too so we will also be aiming for wins in LMP3 as well. It will be nice to have Andrew Bentley join the team for the weekend too. He’s been helping Richard and Shaun this year so for him to get the opportunity to race with us is great. Jim and Matt are also improving and I think the test ahead of the race weekend will really help Jim continue with the good progress he’s making.”

Source. United Autosports/Photo. John Patterson

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