Paul di Resta and Phil Hanson have been crowned drivers' champions of the 2018-19 Asian Le Mans Series after finishing second for United Autosports in the season finale at Sepang International Circuit on Sunday.

Di Resta and Hanson entered the final round of the championship leading chief rivals Harrison Newey and Andrea Pizzitola by 18 points, and looked on course to seal the title with a second straight race win before a late Safety Car and penalty cost them a potential victory.

After having his lead wiped away by the caution, Hanson was then forced to serve a 22-second stop and go penalty due to an earlier pit stop infringement, leaving di Resta to bring the car home in second place behind Newey and Pizzitola of Algarve Pro Racing.

It was nevertheless enough for the United Autosports duo to be crowned Asian Le Mans Series champions at the first attempt, clinching an automatic entry to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the process.

"Four very different races, one win and three second places, means we’ve accomplished what we needed to do," said di Resta.

"We’ve won the title but also the series was about me helping to develop Phil as much as I could in preparation for ELMS, Le Mans and WEC during the year. He’s consistently produced excellent performances.

"Competing in this four-races series has definitely shortened the winter in some respects but on the other hand it feels it’s been a long season having begun in November."

Added Hanson: "Very happy to have achieved our goal of winning the championship and a Le Mans entry but disappointed in not doing it with a second consecutive race win.

"We picked up a pit penalty when a wheel nut rolled on the floor less than a metre during a tyre change and so after that we coasted home to the finish.

"I managed a good lap in qualifying having gambled on a car set-up for that time of the day and track conditions based on what we’d learned from Friday’s practice."