The weekend started in true Spa style with sunshine, cold weather, thick fog in the morning, and occasional rain showers. The# 41 crew picked up where they left off in Portimao. They have been showing great pace in the practice sessions, and Deletraz put the car on the first row in qualifying, just narrowly missing out on pole position.
Race day began with unexpected rain showers, making the track damp for the start, however, the WRT Team, just like the majority of the grid opted for slick tyres.
Rui took the wheel for the start and stayed out of trouble, and even though he slipped down to ninth in the first corner, he delivered a stunning double stint, fighting his way back to third before passing the wheel to Deletraz. The Swiss driver drove perfectly, in sync with the sister car, until an unfortunate Safety car intervention dropped them down to seventh place.
Unfazed by the misfortunes, Kubica continued the charge, while Team WRT’s strategists were doing an excellent job on the pit wall, and the hard work paid off at the Safety Car’s next visit to the track. This time, the #41 crew got lucky and Deletraz found himself in the battle for second place. Louis then threw himself after the leading United car, reducing the gap before the final pit stop, where the Team WRT crew did a stunning job, releasing Louis into the lead. The Swiss driver steered the car into victory, taking the team’s first win of the season on home ground.
This is Rui’s second win on World Championship level, following his triumph in Monza last year, but this is his first win under the Angolan flag, making this victory even more special. This was the first time a driver with Angolan licence stood on top of a podium at a world championship motorsport event and Rui made sure the entire world has seen it as he proudly carried his home country’s flag to the rostrum.
This result puts Rui and the #41 Team WRT squad in second place in the overall standings after three rounds.
Rui Andrade :
“I am extremely happy with the win. I don’t think anyone in the team thought we were fighting for the win until the last hour of the race, which shows the kind of crazy race that was. With the changing weather conditions, the safety cars, and the incidents, but the team did a perfect job concerning the strategy, and Louis and Robert did a great job too. I think my race was good, recovered from ninth to third. The car was strong today, we never gave up, especially after the first safety car, when we were one minute and a half off. It’s good for the championship and good for going into Le Mans.”
Maria Catarineu, Commercial Director, Bullet Sports Management
“I started working with Rui five years ago, when he raced in Spanish F4, his first which was his first season in single seaters, and followed his progress ever since. He found his true calling in endurance racing and uses every opportunity to learn and grow as a driver. It fills me with pride to see him succeed in such a competitive championship and with his determination and great work ethic he will reach new heights.”
The FIA World Endurance Championship continues in a little more than a month’s time with the ‘big one’, the 100th anniversary of the greatest motorsport event in the world, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.