sean gelael

Team WRT Aiming for Glory in Historic Le Mans 24 Hours Centenary Edition

06 Juni 2023 16:05

The ‘big one’ has come! The 24 Hours of Le Mans is without a doubt the biggest endurance race of the year and arguably also the biggest race in the world, and this year its status has grown even further. What will go on stage this weekend is no less than the ‘Course du Centenaire’, celebrating the first hundred years of the legendary enduro. It is already deemed also as the ‘race of the century’ given the quality of the entry, which sanctions the rebirth of endurance racing.

Team WRT will have the privilege to be part of this history-writing event, but its focus will be on the race itself and on the heavy points that the longest race of the year awards, which always play a crucial role in the quest for the FIA WEC’s LMP2 crown.

At the wheel of the two Oreca 07 Gibson of the Belgian squad, in what is its last Le Mans outing in the class before joining the Hypercar elite in 2024, will be the usual driver line-ups. Car #41, with Rui Andrade, Louis Delétraz and Robert Kubica, is currently second in the standings, only eight points from the top, having taken two podium finishes, including a home win at Spa in May. Robin Frijns, Sean Gelael and Ferdinand Habsburg, in car #31, are further down in the standings but equally determined to improve their position.

Le Mans remains an unpredictable race, where many variables play a role, but Team WRT is strongly committed to repeating the success conquered in its maiden appearance in 2021. In the test day yesterday, both cars completed the foreseen work programme, with the test runs aimed at working on set-up ahead of the official practice sessions. Both cars proved competitive, with #31 finishing the two sessions in the top three on the time sheets.

Team Principal Vincent Vosse remains humble ahead of the important week-long event: “We are so involved in what we do that we tend to forget that we have to feel blessed by simply being here and being part of the biggest race in the world. It will be our third participation only, and we have already tasted the up and downs that this race can provide: joy and bitterness at the same time at the very end of the race in 2021, frustration since the initial phases last year. We have learned those lessons and we come back with more experience and fresh from the win at Spa. We’ll try to be competitive, start well, have a clean race, and hopefully be in a good position to fight for victory at the end!”

Robin Frijns:
“I did two Le Mans, one I won, one I lost. It’s a track we all love to go back to as it is the biggest event of the season. Le Mans has been kind to me so far, it’s a pity that last year we had an engine issue and then we crashed out, by my own mistake as I was over-pushing. If we have a solid weekend, without any big issues, we will be there to race for the win at the end. We [car #31] also need to win as the championship so far hasn’t come in our direction. A win would help us to come back and have a shot for the title.”

Sean Gelael:
“In the past, I have lost Le Mans by 0.7 seconds [in 2021, to Team WRT] and one retirement. I have two legends in the car who beat me that year, so I feel no pressure. I prefer not to think that if we win Le Mans, this will be the turning point in the #31 car’s season and that we will go down in the history books as the winners of the Centenary race, with all its glory…”

Ferdinand Habsburg:
“Even though it is an anniversary edition, even though it gives double points, and even though it is a nerve-racking race, I like to approach Le Mans as any other race. I want to try to win, I will give my best and I have prepared as best as I could have. I really love to work with this team, I know they’ve put in every effort even if we have had a rocky start of the season, and I feel optimistic as we have already done it in the past.”

Source: Team WRT


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