Prema ORLEN Team faced a difficult run in the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, round 2 of the FIA World Endurance Championship. Despite several problems, seventh place gave the Italian team a points finish.
The team had a very positive first part of the weekend and was competitive from practice. While a minor outage during one of the qualifying rounds cost him the chance to improve, Louis Delétraz put in an extremely competitive first flying lap to take P4 on the grid.
The race started with an excellent driving performance from Lorenzo Colombo. The 21-year-old Italian survived a brisk opening lap, making two overtakes in his first two stints to take P2. Towards the end of his run it started to rain harder, leading to numerous neutralizations with red flags, full course yellows and safety cars.
Unfortunately, right after Robert Kubica jumped into the cockpit of the #9 Prema ORLEN Team Oreca, the car’s handling started to deteriorate and the Pole had to make the most of what was left. Riding in treacherous conditions, which also led to a long red flag, he left absolutely nothing on the table to defend his position and put in a massive effort.
Louis Delétraz was the last driver to enter the track and did so on slicks in an attempt to gain a strategic advantage with the drying track. Unfortunately, with an incredibly slippery surface, it made contact with the barriers and had to go into the pit to replace the front body.
The Swiss eventually crossed the finish line P7 in class without a lack of further neutralizations. Prema ORLEN Team is now looking forward to its first Le Mans 24 Hours experience, relying on the chemistry and lessons learned during the first two WEC outings of the year.
“For my part, I can say that I have improved a lot by starting in the WEC for the first time. I did everything smoothly and safely. Lap after lap I got more confident and outperformed the two LMP2 cars I had up front so I was able to pass them both up to P2. Then the conditions were really challenging and we fell back. We have to learn and improve for the next events because we lacked a lot of pace compared to the others. On dry land we had a good car but we need to be better because being competitive in all conditions is of the utmost importance in these competitions.”
“It was a difficult race in terms of speed in the rain and handling, but it’s a good lesson in preparation for Le Mans and we scored points. I had an unfortunate moment with aquaplaning and hit the wall, but we still finished seventh. I can’t say we’re happy, but in races like this you learn the most. I’m looking forward to racing in the ELMS next weekend, we lead and we go for the win. Hopefully we can all do it again and come back on top!”
“Not an easy race, I think that’s the best summary. There haven’t really been many positives. It was too difficult and too complicated to be real, so we need to investigate what went wrong and if there are any problems. were phases of the race where we never had traction, both me and Louis, and we had vibrations from the drivetrain, so something may have been wrong. It was probably my rough day behind the wheel. To keep the car straight in the rain , I had more trouble than driving the icy stages of Monte Carlo on slippery tires!”