Rui made his sports car debut in 2021 in the Asian Le Mans Championship and ran a full season in the ELMS with selected WEC starts. He’s been relishing the new challenge from the moment he first turned the wheel of an LMP2 car and finished the season on top, winning the ELMS Pro-AM title.
For the 2022 season, Rui stepped up to the highest level of sports car racing, signing up for a double campaign in FIA WEC and IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup racing against some of the best drivers in the world.
His season got off to a dream start with a podium finish at the Rolex 24H at Daytona followed by a double podium in WEC, finishing third at Sebring and second at Spa only missing out on a win. And he didn’t have to wait for long to reach the top step on one of the most iconic podiums in the world.
After a successful visit to Watkins Glen, Rui was back with his REALTEAM by WRT team for the latest round of the FIA WEC season at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza.
Showing strong pace in the practice sessions, Andrade and his teammates Ferdinand Habsburg and Norman Nato proved that they are a force to be reckoned with. Ferdinand set the third-fastest time in the highly competitive LMP2 field securing a second-row start for the 6 Hours of Monza.
Rui took the start in the 38-car-strong grid and he fired off the line, rocketing up to second place in the opening lap. Surrounded by highly experienced, gold-rated drivers, Rui was faced with a set of challenges but he gave his opponents a run for their money.
He completed a flawless double stint and ended only 10 seconds behind his more experienced teammate from America, Louis Delétraz. Demonstrating his skills before passing the wheel to Ferdinand in fourth place after some exciting battles.
The Austrian driver went on a spectacular charge to take the lead in his first run. Norman got in next and picked up right where Ferdinand left off, keeping his foot within the top 5. Besides all the drivers’ cracking performance, the team behind the pit wall did an equally terrific job, nailing the tyre strategy and executing impeccable pit stops.
Ferdinand took back the reins for the closing stage of the race and regained the lead after the final pit stop, jumping the championship leader JOTA car with less than 30 minutes on the clock and led the car over the finish line to seal REALTEAM’s first win in the series.
This means that after only his six starts in the championship, Rui joined the elite list of FIA WEC winners and the Sonangol-supported driver became the first-ever Angolan to win a race at world championship level. He now sits P3 in the championship with two more rounds to go and 63 points up for grabs.
“This feels amazing! A dream come true. And to win with this team makes it even more special. They have all worked so hard for this and the result speaks for itself. They say you always remember your first and it couldn’t be more true. I can’t wait to do it all over again. A huge thank you to my partners Sonangol and Banco BAI and to my parents for allowing me to be here to chase my dreams.“
Jamie Campbell-Walter, Managing Director Bullet Sports Management:
“Since 2019 we have worked hard on Rui´s performance on track and off. The Monza result is a huge credited to him for his efforts to learn and improve. His performance in Monza excelled in every area and the fact he was only 10 seconds behind the leader after 2 hours was a fantastic performance. I am so proud and happy for this momentous achievement in his career. “
The 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship season continues with the 6 Hours of Fuji on 10-11th September