Boom or Bust; but what for Bahrain?
It’s been boom or bust for Sean Gelael in the hotly-contested LMP2 class in the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship with the Indonesian driver of the #31 WRT Oreca 07 – Gibson scoring two wins over the course of the season but tempering this with a DNF at Le Mans and technical issues in Monza.
Sharing a car with René Rast and Robin Frijns, it’s the 25 year-old driver’s second full season of FIA WEC after completing a part season in 2016 then coming full-time to WEC in 2021.
Next heading to Bahrain for the Bapco 8 Hours of Bahrain in November, Gelael can look back on second in class and fifth overall at the season-opening 1000 Miles of Sebring, a class win and third overall at the TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa, retirement from the race in Le Mans, technical issues meaning 12th in class and 21st overall in the 6 Hours of Monza, then – most recently – the class win and fifth overall in the 6 Hours of Fuji.
Coming into the season-finale, the #31 car and driver line-up can still finish second in the LMP2 Teams’ and Drivers’ standings.
Ahead of Bahrain, Gelael looks back over his season so far.
How do you assess your season so far?
The season's been up and down! I mean obviously I’m very happy with two wins. But also we had a DNF and technical issues which was a big rollercoaster ride for us. This has been a bit sad really but we keep fighting as this is what a season is about. It's about persevering through the hard times and trying to do the best we can to survive.
What have been the highlights?
The highlights for me are obviously Spa and then Fuji. Both saw good starts for me, in particular how we took the lead and kept it.
What has been more challenging?
What's been more challenging is managing expectations. We came into Le Mans after being on pole and we really wanted to win but we came out with a DNF instead of finish which I think is it's hard for us are made it a lot more difficult for a championship fight. I think that was the biggest challenge for us.
Have there been any surprises in 2022?
No big surprises. We expected for it to be very competitive this year with a lot of LMP2 cars and a lot of strong driver line-ups with a lot of competitive teams. If anything, Robin smiles sometimes even when he's not on pole so that's always good!
What’s the gameplan heading to Bahrain?
We can only control what we can control, so we’ll try to win the race and try to get back 38 or 39 points and then let the rest happen…
Which has been your most rewarding race?
The most rewarding for me was the 6 Hours of Fuji. After basically two DNF races to come back and win was a great redemption story.
How well do you work with the team and your team-mates?
Man, the team has been awesome! You know, I think René has always been a very highly rated driver, but also he's a very good guy. And he has been very helpful for me and for true professional and then Robin as well. He's such a good guy. He's so super talented driver, I think one of the most honest drivers I've ever seen or worked with. But also he's pretty dedicated and knows a lot of stuff too. So it's all good.
What does the future hold for you in WEC?
Hopefully I have more future with WRT! I think that's always been my plan after signing with them is to be part of their family and to be part of the family for a long time. So hopefully, hopefully we'll stay together longer!