WRT scores second successive ELMS win at the Red Bull Ring

Team WRT took a hard-fought win at the Red Bull Ring in the second round of the European Le Mans Series.

In a race affected by a heavy rainstorm mid-way through proceedings, the championship-leading crew of Robert Kubica, Louis Deletraz and Yifei Yi managed to keep its head to come out on top after four hours of racing.

Formula 3 race winner Logan Sargeant proved to be the big surprise on Saturday with the sportscar rookie taking pole position on his debut for Racing Team Turkey as he filled in for the absent Harry Tincknell following a date clash with a Mid-Ohio IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race.

Salih Yoluc started the pole-sitting car, entered in the LMP2-Am subclass by virtue of the Turkish racer’s bronze rating, but was quickly overtaken by the similarly-rated John Falb.

The American clung on to the lead for fifteen minutes while United Autosports duo Nico Jamin and Phil Hanson breathed down his neck but as the lead car hit traffic, both Jamin and Hanson found a way through.

The early running was then led by the United cars before the first stops suddenly brought Nyck de Vries and the #26 G-Drive Racing Aurus-branded Oreca to the fore with the Mercedes Formula E star benefitting from a quick stop and proving extremely rapid.

De Vries would speed away from the nearest opposition, now coming from Kubica in the #41 Team WRT Oreca that had steadily made up ground courtesy of a strong opening stint by Yifei Ye.

The rhythm of the race changed completely at the half way point with a heavy shower drenching the Styrian track and bringing out the safety car.

The ensuing melee left only the WRT and G-Drive cars on the lead lap and the final stint battle between Franco Colapinto and Deletraz was dramatic.

The youngster pushed hard on a drying track to stay ahead of the more experienced Deletraz, taking a lot of risks in the process.

It was not to be for the Argentinean though as Deletraz did find a way past to win for the second time in a row with Kubica and Chinese teammate Ye.

LMP2-Am honours went to G-Drive Racing with former Formula 1 driver Roberto Merhi proving particularly quick in the changeable conditions and keeping well clear of a charging Sargeant to win together with teammates Falb and Rui Andrade in the #25 G-Drive car.

LMP3 was initially dominated by United Autosports before the rain-induced safety car ended the British team’s challenge.

Victory then seemed to go to Graff Racing until a late penalty for a pitstop infringement handed the win to Cool Racing trio Matt Bell, Niklas Kruetten and Nicholas Maulini in the #19 Ligier, the same team that won the opening round at Barcelona.

The GTE class was dominated by the #80 Iron Lynx Racing Ferrari until the chaotic second half of the race, leaving AF Corse to pick up the pieces.

Francois Perrodo, Alessio Rovera and Emannuel Collard took victory in the #88 Ferrari 488 GTE after fighting back from a drive through penalty early on.

The next race of the European Le Mans Series will take place at Paul Ricard on 6 June.

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