Extreme weather conditions are a trademark of Spa-Francorchamps, but the iconic circuit outdid itself last weekend. The second round of the FIA WEC championship was interrupted by three red flag phases, six safety car periods and five Full Course Yellows, resulting in only three hours of green flag racing.
The race started under blue skies with Rui taking the wheel of the #41 REALTEAM by WRT Oreca. The young Angolan had to face countless challenges thrown his way. Starting from the middle of the pack is never an easy task, and although he managed to avoid any contacts in the opening lap, he slipped back in the order. Within the first hour of the race, he picked up a puncture, forcing him to pit, which threw them back to P15 in class. Shortly after, the first red flag brought the race to a halt due to a heavy crash, preventing Rui from showing his full potential.
The race restarted under safety car conditions. By the time the track received the all clear, the heavens had opened in true Spa style, making the track underivable, so after several incidents, the race was stopped once again.
Following a rather lengthy break, Norman took over the wheel and went on a charge climbing all the way up to P5 in class, fighting the elements and the constant FCY and Safety Car interruptions.
Ferdinand jumped in the car in P5 for the final double stint, and the Austrian, eager to extend his ongoing 6-race podium streak, was a man on a mission. He fought his way up to the last step of the podium, and following a spectacular battle with United’s Phil Hanson, he snatched P2, securing a 1-2 finish for Team WRT in their home race.
“It was an exciting race! We found ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong moment in the opening stages, but then we had a very consistent race. Norman did a great job, he had the longest and toughest stint in the rain, and I could finish off the job after some nice battling with the United car. We didn’t have a perfectly clean weekend but still finished 2nd in LMP2 and 4th overall, getting some champagne is a great success.”
“P2 that feels like a victory! It was not the easiest of weekends for us but we made a strong comeback in the race. I got rather unlucky with the puncture, but my teammates Norman and Ferdi and the entire team did a mega job, securing us the podium. Now to continue this momentum for Le Mans!”
The #41 REALTEAM Racing by WRT squad now sits in third place in the LMP2 classification ahead of the biggest race on the calendar. The 24 Hours of Le Mans will go green on June 11