Craft-Bamboo Racing has finished its first FIA World Endurance Championship race in seventh place in the GTE Pro class amid changing weather conditions and torrential rain that brought the race to an early finish after five and a half hours.
The #99 Vantage GTE – driven by Fernando Rees (BR), Darryl O’Young (HK) and Alex MacDowall – had a clean race and, despite it being the drivers’ first competitive race in the V8-charger, all three showed great pace and control even with the mixed weather conditions.
“The drivers and team all did a fantastic job,” comments Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing. “They didn’t make any mistakes in the pit stops and the drivers brought the car home in one piece, which isn’t easy with a track that wet."
The rain held off throughout the morning but, as the green flag waved for the start of the race, the team’s radar showed rain on the horizon. With five hours left on the clock, the start-stop rain came, making tyre choice a challenge.
“When the rain first came we made the decision to go stay out on slicks so we could complete a five-stop strategy,” explains Rees. “The gamble didn’t pay off and we lost a few places but we did well to recover our qualifying position.”
MacDowall and O’Young had completed the team’s first WEC qualifying session on Saturday. In order for a car to qualify, two drivers must complete at least four laps and the average of the best four is the qualifying time.
“I was pleased with my laps in qualifying,” comments MacDowall who completed the session with O’Young. “I was up there with some of the experienced GT drivers and I know there was more time for me to find, had I had more laps. It’s great to know that going forward.”
It was experienced WEC driver Rees who started the race from seventh on the GTE grid and he went on to complete a two-hour double stint before handing over to MacDowall and then O’Young.
As the day progressed the rain got heavier and, 25-minutes before the six-hour race was due to end, a red flag signaled an early conclusion.
“The weather was challenging today but it was great to race with Aston Martin Racing and Craft-Bamboo for the first time,” comments O’Young. “The car was faultless and the team did a great job so we could finish the race and collect some points. We learned a lot and know where we can make improvements so we look forward to getting to Spa and progressing even further.”