TEAM WRT PREPARES FOR STRONG RETURN AT PORTIMÃO
TEAM WRT PREPARES FOR STRONG RETURN AT PORTIMÃO
Team WRT returns to the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve this weekend, for the second round of the 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship, the 6 Hours of Portimão. After a challenging season opener at the 1000 Miles of Sebring last month, the team are looking at getting their sister cars back on the podium.
It was in 2021 where WRT last ran their Oreca LMP2s around the twists and turns of Portimão, and enjoyed success in both the WEC, and the European Le Mans Series. Robin Frijns and Ferdinand Habsburg finished fourth in #31 with teammate Charles Milesi, and in the same year, Robert Kubica and Louis Delétraz, alongside Yifei Ye, finished second with WRT in the ELMS.
With the 2023 line ups remaining unchanged from Sebring, and solid pre-season testing under their belts, the Team WRT duo are more than ready to take on the six-hour battle around the 4.653km circuit.
The #41 squad of Rui Andrade, Louis Delétraz and Robert Kubica sit fourth in the LMP2 championship standings, with their teammates, the #31 car of Robin Frijns, Sean Gelael and Ferdinand Habsburg, a mere six points behind, in sixth position.
Portimão hosts the first of WEC’s four six-hour races this season, so will see less championship points on offer compared to the longer race at Sebring. This weekend, a maximum of 26 points, one for pole position and 25 for the LMP2 win, will be up for grabs and WRT’s aim will be to fight for as many of those valuable points as possible.
Vincent Voss, Team WRT Principal: “As a team we must bounce back from Sebring. We were not where we wanted to be and now in terms of the championship, of course, we have to score big points in Portimão! We expect to be back to where we should normally be, but we will not be putting ourselves under any unnecessary pressure. The team just need to do what we know, and everything will be fine! Nice to be back in Europe and only two races to go before Le Mans, so we will be giving it our all.”
Robin Frijns, #31 Platinum driver: “It’s a track where I haven’t won a race, yet… Always been quite competitive. Two years ago, our first year in the WEC was a bit difficult, we had some issues in the race. I do like the flow of the track, how it goes up and down, it’s a very nice layout, but quite challenge to race on as it’s difficult to overtake there, nevertheless, it’s always enjoyable to drive it. So, I’m looking forward to the race, hopefully we will be competitive so we can fight for a podium at least!”
Sean Gelael, #31 Silver driver: “Heading back to sunny Portugal, I love it there! Good vibes, good place, super nice circuit. I personally had a good first year there in 2021, finished second after being spun around in the first corners. It’s a place I enjoy a lot and hopefully we can bounce back with the results that the whole of Team WRT deserves!”
Ferdinand Habsburg, #31 Gold driver: “Portimão is a very difficult track in general with a lot of combined corners which can make it challenging from the engineering front, but we’ve been assessing a lot of things since Sebring, and we need a good weekend to bounce back and still have a chance at the championship. So, let’s say the pressure is on for the drivers and the team, but fortunately it’s in a cool place with beautiful weather. I’m looking forward to it, it’s always a cool track to go and race on.”
Rui Andrade, #41 Silver driver: “Really excited to go racing again at Portimão for the second round of the WEC, obviously for many reasons! One being that it is my home races because I am half Portuguese and I live in Portugal full time. After Sebring, I think the whole team would like to get going again, get on track and show what we can do! Show that we deserve to be fighting at the front because I know both the car and the team have to potential to do so. Cannot wait to get going again and make the best of our next race weekend!”
Louis Delétraz, #41 Gold driver: “Portimão is a super nice track, very different to Sebring! Completely different approach on the car set up and driving style, so we have challenges ahead! The car has been pretty strong in Sebring, but we didn’t optimise it. So we have been working hard in the last few weeks to understand this and make improvements, and get ready to fight for some trophies and hopefully the victory in Portimão. The objective, as always will be to score big points towards the championship!”
Robert Kubica, #41 Platinum driver: “6 Hours of Portimão is our second race of the season. For sure, after Sebring we are looking forward to race there, although it is a track where I haven’t raced a lot – only once in 2021 in the European Le Mans Series. So, I’m happy to be back there! We have tested a few times too, so I know the track well. It can be quite demanding from the tyre point of view, especially now we have no pre-heating systems. There are high speed corners where there is a lot of load on the tyres, it will be tricky and a lot will depend on the weather! As always, it will be a very competitive race with the LMP2 field as we saw in Sebring. The small details count and that is what we will be focusing on.”
FIA World Endurance Championship - Round 2
6 Hours of Portimão – Portimão, Portugal, 14-16 April 2023
Timetable (local time; CEST: -1h)
Friday 14 April 2023
10:30-12:00 Free Practice 1
15:30-17:00 Free Practice 2
Saturday 15 April 2023
11:15-12:15 Free Practice 3
15:55-16:10 Qualifying (LMP2)
Sunday 16 April 2023
12:00-18:00 Race (6 Hours)
Team WRT entries (Oreca 07 Gibson)
#31 Robin Frijns (NL) – Sean Gelael (ID) – Ferdinand Habsburg (AT)
#41 Rui Andrade (AN) – Louis Delétraz (CH) – Robert Kubica (PL)
Web : w-racingteam.com
Tel. +32 472 10 02 96
10 months ago
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