The weekend got off to a promising start for Rui and his teammates John Falb and Roberto Merhi, showing great pace in Friday’s practice, but Saturday´s qualifying proved to be problematic for the drivers. Roberto Merhi was tasked with qualifying the #25 car and just towards the end of his first flying lap, the red flag was deployed for an accident. There was enough time to set two flying laps with 4 minutes remaining but, unfortunately, Roberto did track limits on both laps, which meant they were forced to start the race from the back of the grid.
Starting P41, Roberto Merhi was chosen to take the start and the ex F1-driver did not disappoint. By the end of lap three, he carved himself through the 26 cars from the other classes and started his charge through the LMP2 field. He climbed as high up as P5 overall before he handed the car over to John Falb. John completed his single stint without a problem and boxed to hand over to Rui.
The Angolan, who is still fairly new to endurance racing and sports cars in general didn’t cease to impress. He put on a brilliant display of defensive driving and completed an impeccable 52-lap stint before handing the wheel back to Roberto. The Spaniard brought the car home in P10 overall and 2nd best in the Pro-Am ranking, extending their lead in the championship.
“P2 in Pro-am and P10 overall is not the result we wanted,” – Rui said. “But after the qualifying we had, I’ll take it! We’ve got some nice championship points and extended our lead and that’s what matters. John and Roberto did a mega job all weekend, and we’ll be back even stronger in Monza!’’
Rui next races in Monza, Italy in a months’ time (July 9-11).