Rui entered the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup with Tower Motorsport for the 2022 season alongside Louis Déletraz and John Farano, joined by Ferdinand Habsburg at the season opener in Daytona.
Together, they put ian impressive performance throughout the first three rounds of the championship, earning two podium finishes, but they kept the real fireworks for the season finale.
Petit Le Mans is one of the crown jewel endurance races on the IMSA calendar, using the regulations established for the 24 hours of Le Mans by the ACO. Over the 25-year history of the event, Rui was the first Angolan to enter the iconic race, and he did it in style.
As per IMSA regulations, it was once again Farano setting the qualifying lap on Friday, securing fourth on the grid for the 10-hour race.
The trio had a completely flawless run. John took the start and held on to P4 before passing the wheel to Rui. The Sonangol-supported driver drove a terrific double stint, giving it his all and charging all the way up to second position, leaving their main title contenders behind.
He passed the baton to Deletraz who carried on the charge as the darkness fell. Rui’s second appearance came at around the halfway mark, rejoining the race in third place, completing a perfect single stint.
The spectacular battle for the LMP2 lead between the Dragonspeed car and the Tower squad was the highlight of the closing stages of the race, and Rui and Louis fought hard to keep the two generations of Montoya’s at bay. In the end, the Swiss driver crossed the line in first place after ten hours, taking the team’s third consecutive Petit Le Mans win, their first Endurance win of the season and sealing the Team’s Championship.
With this victory, Andrade, Deletraz, and Farano earned enough points to secure second place in the Michelin Endurance cup, only 5 points behind the PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports trio. Rui also became the first ever Angolan racing driver to win an IMSA race and the first Angolan to win a motor race in America.
“What a race to round off this amazing season! We got really close to the win in Daytona, but finally made it to the top at one of the coolest races. It has been an incredible experience to race on these iconic tracks, and I couldn’t have chosen a better team to introduce me to the world of IMSA racing than Tower. These guys and girls did an impeccable job all season long, and I got to learn so much. Huge thanks to John for the opportunity and to Louis and Ferdinand for their hard work. Of course, we wanted to win the title as well, but at least we have one more reason to come back here. Huge thanks to my sponsors Sonangol and Banco BAI for the support, allowing me to chase my dreams while representing Angola across the world. “
Although the American part of his season is over, Rui will race one more time this year, in the FIA WEC season finale on November 10-12 in Bahrain.