Andrade shares the #41 Team WRT LMP2 Oreca with Robert Kubica and Louis Deletraz in the FIA World Endurance Championship. The trio had a solid start to the season at Sebring, but they weren’t in contention for the podium. The team and the drivers spent the time between the two races working hard to improve the car for the European leg of the season, and despite the tough start to the weekend, it paid off in the end.
Rui took the start of the 6-hour race from P9 and even though he had a clean getaway, he got hindered by the traffic, which is one of the biggest challenges in multi-class racing. He tumbled down the order by the end of the opening lap. However, the Sonangol-supported driver completed a brilliant stint and recovered to his starting position before passing the car to Déletraz.
Having taken over driving duties aboard the #41 WRT Team Oreca, the Swiss driver began a charge that saw him climb up to fourth place by the halfway mark of the race, when Kubica took the reins. The Polish ex F1-driver emerged in fifth place and was soon driving in fourth place. A late safety car period played in the #41 crew’s favours as Déletraz got back behind the wheel for the final hour and he claimed third place, securing the team’s first podium finish of the season.
The trio remains fourth in the overall standings with 33 points to their names.
“Coming into Portimão the team wanted to bounce back after a tough weekend in Sebring and this is exactly what we did. Super happy to be back on the WEC podium with such a great comeback from the team after a difficult qualifying. My teammates Robert and Louis did an incredible job and the team did a perfect job with the strategy to put us into a strong position at the end. Now it’s time to carry this momentum into Spa in two weeks time at the team’s home race!”
Jamie Campbell-Walter, Managing Director Bullet Sports Management:
“Rui did a solid job this weekend. Taking the start in a WEC race is always challenging when you’re not in the leading class, but Rui recovered nicely. The team did a great job overnight after a disappointing Qualifying, so this podium was a great reward for all of them. This is our fourth season working with Team WRT, and we know very well what this team is capable of which is why I have no doubt that they will come up with a solution by the time we get to Spa, and they will be more competitive from the start of the weekend.”
The next round of the FIA World Endurance Championship will take place in two weeks’ time (April 27-29) at the iconic Spa Francorchamps circuit (BEL), but Rui will be back on track this weekend (April 21-23), kicking off his ELMS campaign at the 4H of Barcelona (ES) with Inter Europol Competition.