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Crowdstrike Racing by APR, champion of the Asian Le Mans Series

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This weekend, 13 ORECA 07s gathered in Abu Dhabi at the Yas Marina Circuit to compete in the two races of the Asian Le Mans Series finale. With two victories in three races, 99 Racing emerged as the favorite, closely followed by Crowdstrike Racing by APR and Proton Competition.

On Friday, during the qualifying sessions, Ahmad Al Harthy displayed dominance behind the wheel of the #99 ORECA 07, leading the session to secure the top two positions on the starting grid, thus guaranteeing pole positions for the two races of the weekend.

On Saturday, after a four-hour race marked by multiple incidents, safety car periods, and a red flag, George Kurtz, Colin Braun, and Malthe Jakobsen emerged victorious driving the #4 ORECA 07 of Crowdstrike Racing by APR. This victory allowed the team to regain the lead in the Championship with a 5-point advantage in the LMP2 standings before the final race scheduled for the next day.

Starting from pole position, the #99 of 99 Racing had a challenging race with a spin on the first lap, followed by a penalty and a collision with a GT car under safety car conditions. Despite their dominance in their respective categories, both cars were forced to retire. Nevertheless, the team remained in contention for the LMP2 title.

Drama unfolded as the race approached its final hour when the race management had to suspend the race with a red flag following a violent crash involving the #86 GR Racing Ferrari 296 GT3, caused by contact with the #95 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3.

During the restart with 26 minutes remaining, Malthe Jakobsen seized the advantage behind the wheel of the #4 ORECA 07 of Crowdstrike Racing by APR by making a shorter pit stop than the #83 ORECA 07. Malthe had a 4.8-second lead over Matthieu Vaxivière when the latter left the pits. This lead the Danish driver was able to maintain until the checkered flag to claim a magnificent victory.

Matthieu Vaxiviere, Alessio Rovera, and François Perrodo secured the second step on the podium with the #83 ORECA of AF Corse, 5 seconds behind the winners, and were joined by Laurents Hörr, Tom Dillmann, and Alexander Mattschull on the #3 ORECA of DKR Engineering.

The top 5 was completed by the #90 ORECA 07 of TF Sport and the #22 ORECA 07 of Proton Competition.

Heading into the final race, CrowdStrike Racing by APR led with 73 points ahead of 99 Racing (68 points), AF Corse (52 points), and DKR (50 points).

On Sunday, the fifth and final race of the Asian Le Mans Series was once again highly eventful. While Algarve Pro Racing emerged victorious from the chaos, CrowdStrike Racing by APR secured the title and consequently an invitation to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Despite a race full of twists and turns, the #25 ORECA 07 delivered a flawless performance and notably gained an advantage over its competitors by being in the pits when the race was interrupted by a red flag following a collision and a track exit involving the #55 AO Racing ORECA 07 and a GT car. This masterstroke allowed the Portuguese team and Freddie Tomlinson, Toby Sowery, and Chris McMurry to claim an unexpected victory with over a minute’s lead over the #24 ORECA 07 of Nielsen Racing, which made an impressive climb from fourth to second place.

After a commendable season, the trio of Giorgio Roda, Rene Binder, and Julien Andlauer secured the third step on the podium with the #22 ORECA 07 of Proton.

Although DKR Engineering was in contention for a podium finish, the team unfortunately received a drive-through penalty in the final seconds of the race for gaining an advantage by going off track limits and finished fourth ahead of the #30 ORECA 07 of Duqueine Team and the #34 ORECA 07 of Nielsen Racing.

With just three points ahead in the standings before the race, the seventh place was sufficient for Malthe Jakobsen, George Kurtz, and Colin Braun to be crowned champions with the #4 ORECA 07 of CrowdStrike Racing by APR. This title earned them an automatic invitation to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

TF Sport, ARC Brastilava, and Cool Racing secured a top 10 finish.

Despite the feat of rebuilding their car overnight, the favorites of 99 Racing finished eleventh after being penalized with a stop & go at the start of the race following the previous day’s accident and experiencing gearbox issues.

AF Corse, victim of a puncture in an early race incident, was quickly out of the title race and finished at the back of the pack.

The invited LMP2 teams to the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans:

  • Algarve Pro Racing
  • CrowdStrike Racing by APR x2
  • United Autosports USA
  • AF Corse
  • COOL Racing