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R02 - Spa-Francorchamps - FIA WEC Race Report

Prema ORLEN Team salvages P7 in ill-fated 6 Hours of Spa

R02 - Spa-Francorchamps - FIA WEC Race Report

Prema ORLEN Team faced a troubled run today in the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, Round 2 of the FIA World Endurance Championship. Despite several issues, seventh place handed the Italian squad a points finish.

The team had a really positive first part of the weekend and was competitive right from practice. While a minor off during one of the qualifying laps cost him a chance to improve, Louis Delétraz banked on a extremely competitive first flying lap to grab P4 on the grid.

The race started with an outstanding driving performance by Lorenzo Colombo. The 21-year-old Italian survived a lively opening lap and made two overtakes in his first two stints to take P2. At the end of his run, rain started to fall harder and harder, which led to plenty of neutralisations featuring red flags, full-course-yellows and safety-cars. 

Unfortunately, right after Robert Kubica jumped in the cockpit of the #9 Prema ORLEN Team Oreca, the handling of the car started deteriorating, and the Pole had to maximise what was left. Driving in treacherous conditions, which also led to a lengthy red flag, he left absolutely nothing on the table in terms of defending his position, putting up a massive effort.

Louis Delétraz was the final driver to enter the racetrack and did so on slick tyres in an effort to gain a strategy advantage with the drying track. Unfortunately, dealing with an incredibly slippery surface, he made contact with the barriers and had to pit to replace the front bodywork.

The Swissman eventually crossed the finish line P7 in class with no shortage of further neutralizations. Prema ORLEN Team now looks forward to its first Le Mans 24 Hours experience, relying on the chemistry gained and the lesson learned in the first two WEC outings of the year. 

Lorenzo Colombo
"On my side, I can say I improved a lot by taking the start in the WEC for the first time. I got everything done smoothly and safely. Lap by lap I got more confident, and I was managing better than the two LMP2 cars I had in front, so I was able to pass both of them up to P2. Then the conditions were really challenging, and we dropped back. We need to learn and improve for the next events as we missed a lot of pace compared to the others. In the dry, we had a good car, but we need to be better as being competitive in all conditions is paramount in these competitions."

Louis Delétraz
"It was a difficult race in terms of pace in the rain and drivability, but it's a good lesson as a preparation for Le Mans and we scored points. I had an unlucky moment with aquaplaning and touched the wall, but we still finished seventh. I can't say that we're happy, but it's in races like these where you learn the most. I look forward to racing in the ELMS next weekend, we are leading and we are out for the win. Hopefully we can do it all again and come back on top!"

Robert Kubica
"Not an easy race, I think that's the best summary. There haven't been really a lot of positives. It has been too difficult and too complicated to be real so we have to investigate what went wrong and if there are issues. There were phases of the race where we never had the grip, both me and Louis, and we had vibrations coming from the drivetrain so potentially there was something wrong. It was probably my difficult day behind the wheel. To keep the car straight with the rain, I struggled more than driving the icy Monte Carlo stages on slick tyres!"