Fuji is a unique circuit nestled at the foothills of the majestic Mount Fuji with some of the most passionate fans and a special climate.
During the week leading up to the race, the area was struck by a typhoon, affecting Friday’s Practice sessions but that didn’t stop car #41 from topping FP2. Fortunately, the weather cleared by Saturday, so qualifying took place in dry conditions. Louis was in charge of the #41 Team WRT LMP2 car and set the second-fastest lap time only 0.091 seconds off pole.
Sunday’s race started under sunny skies with Rui lining up on the front row of the LMP2 grid. The Angolan had a stunning start, maintaining his position, but the race was neutralised by the safety car almost immediately due to an incident further down the order. At the restart, Rui slipped down to sixth after contact with another driver who was penalised with a 10 second penalty. He wasn’t fazed by it and marched on to grab fifth, then moved up to fourth place around the 1-hour mark, before passing the wheel to Robert.
The Polish driver had a very strong run in his first double stint, joining a four-way United – Team WRT battle.
Louis took over at the halfway point of the race and thanks to the combination of impeccable pit stops, a perfect strategy by Team WRT and the race craft of the Swiss, he charged into the lead and the 41 car remained there until the checkered flag came out.
Rui, Louis and Robert claimed their second win of the season and their fifth consecutive podium finish in six races. With 25 points added to their tally, they extended their lead in the championship to 33 points with only one more race to go and 38 points available in Bahrain.
This is Rui’s third win in FIA WEC, and his maiden victory in Asia, making it the third continent for the Angolan where he was able to fly the red and black flag high.
“I am extremely happy, The team did a fantastic job. We extended our lead in the championship and are in a more comfortable situation. The car has been strong all year, so it’s looking good. Now it’s time to enjoy the moment, take some rest and focus on Bahrain.”
María Catarineu, Commercial Director, Bullet Sports Management:
“Rui has grown a lot this year as a racing driver and it clearly shows in his performance. He is more confident than ever before and he is doing an amazing job both behind the wheel and off the track. We’ve been aware of his potential for a long time and it is very rewarding to see it unfold. He worked really hard to get there and we are heading to Bahrain in a great position. He’s already been writing history with each of his triumphs and now he has a chance to raise the Angolan flag even higher.”
The 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship season concludes on November 4 with the 8 Hours of Bahrain.