As fall is finally gripping Europe, the FIA WEC is heading toward the mild climate of the Middle East for its final round of 2022, which takes place in Bahrain, as per tradition. An intense and exciting weekend awaits Team WRT as a four-way final battle for the titles is expected in LMP2, but the challenge ahead of the Belgian squad to retain the crowns conquered last year in its first year in the category is definitely a huge one.

The two Oreca 07 Gibson of Team WRT are still in contention for the titles but face a consistent gap. Car #41 of Rui Andrade, Ferdinand Habsburg and Norman Nato, winners at Monza, is third in the standings, 34 points behind the LMP2 leaders, with car #31 of Robin Frijns and Sean Gelalel, associated again with René Rast, is right behind, 36 points from the top, after having won at Spa and Fuji.

The race in Bahrain has an 8-hour format, will finish in darkness, and awards 50 percent more points (38, 27, 23, etc), allowing thus for a four-way final battle. Last year, the technical and varied 5.412 km track, proved successful for Team WRT, which won in LMP2 the two back-to-back races that closed a calendar reshuffled by pandemic effects.

Hopes are high that the same level of competitiveness can be achieved this year, as underlined by Team WRT Principal Vincent Vosse: “Last year, we were very good at Bahrain, winning both races, and this year we will have to do the same to have a chance to fight for the title. On the opposite, this year, we have two cars which still can make it, and it doesn’t matter much which one will be ahead, provided it can make it. We have no choice other than to go for a win and even so, the outcome does not depend exclusively on what we will do. We have nothing to lose and we will go for it with both cars, hopefully conquering a one-two. We have the cars, the team and the line-ups to achieve that and let’s see what happens.”

Robin Frijns: “It’s the last race and we are still in the game for the titles. Last year it worked well, this year we will need a little miracle to be able to win the title. Unfortunately, we pay heavily the zero-point result at Le Mans. We will go to Bahrain and do our best to win the race, which is the only thing we can do, and then it will depend on what others can do. But, as we say, all eyes on the prize!”

Sean Gelael: “I am super excited to be in Bahrain. I love the track, the people and the atmosphere of the event. It is an 8-hour race, going into sunset and finishing at night. It will be very difficult for all, but we’ll try to push as hard as we can and we’ll try to win.”

René Rast: “I look forward to the event, as I haven’t been to Bahrain since 2016. Actually, the last time I raced there, I won, so I hope this is a good sign. Our main goal is to fight for the championship, the only thing we can do is win the race, it’s the ultimate goal, and still, we will have to see what our competitors who have a gap over us, will do. It won’t be easy, but we’ll give our maximum. It’s good to be back with the team and I hope to have a good last race of the season.”

Rui Andrade: “I have never been to Bahrain before but looking at the team’s performance there last year I am sure we will have a strong car this weekend. We have had some highs and lows as a team this year but we are all going to give it our best to finish on a high.”

Ferdinand Habsburg: “We enjoyed a 100% success rate in Bahrain so far. The team is strong and we are at the peak of our performance. Magic and miracles do need to happen for us this weekend to get what we want, but luckily, I am a believer…”

Norman Nato: “It’s the last round of the season and we still have an opportunity to win the championship, so this is clearly the main goal. We are not going to change our approach, we are going to push as hard as we can and see what happens after crossing the finish line of a hot 8-hour race. It will be good fighting, as it has been the whole season. I can’t wait for the weekend to get started.”

FIA World Endurance Championship - Round 6
8 Hours of Bahrain, Bahrain – 10-12 November 2022

Timetable (local time) (CET= -2 hrs)

Thursday 10 November 2022
12:15-13:45 (10:15-11:45) Free Practice 1
17:30-19:00 (15:30-17:00) Free Practice 2

Friday 11 November 2022
11:00-12:00 (09:00-10:00) Free Practice 3
17:10-17:20 (15:10-15:20) Qualifying Hypercar & LMP2

Saturday 12 November 2022
14:00-22:00 (12:00-20:00) Race (8 hours)

Team WRT entry (Oreca 07 Gibson)
#31 Robin Frijns (NL) – Sean Gelael (ID) – René Rast (DE)

REALTIME by WRT entry (Oreca 07 Gibson)
#41 Rui Andrade (AN) – Ferdinand Habsburg (AT) - Norman Nato (FR)

Photo: Brecht Decancq