The fourth GT race for the newly-formed team.
Following Craft-Bamboo Racing’s solid start to the fourth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the Six Hours of Austin, torrential rain and misfortune prevented them from getting the deserved result with its V8 Vantage GTE.
The WEC resumed this weekend (20 September) after a three month gap following the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June and, despite it only being the fourth GT race for the newly-formed team, they instantly showed they were a force to be reckoned with going into the second half of the season.
In free practice three, Fernando Rees (BR) recorded the fastest lap and both he and Alex MacDowall (GB) showed great pace in qualifying, mixing it up with the championship-leaders for much of the session.
It was really unfortunate that we were in the pits when the race was red flagged
“The car felt great this weekend,” commented Rees. “I feel like I’m starting to get the most out of it and the team is really getting to grips with it very quickly.”
Rees started the six-hour race from fifth and, despite losing a place on the opening lap, went on the attack to regain the position from the #71 Ferrari.
The Brazilian then handed over to MacDowall but, shortly into his stint, torrential rain began to fall on the back straight. The team made the quick and smart decision to stop for wets but, while in the pits, the race was red flagged. In line with the regulations, the race was restarted with those in the pits rejoining a lap down. Having also completed an additional pit stop, there ws almost two laps between them and the fifth place car ahead.
“It was really unfortunate that we were in the pits when the race was red flagged,” commented MacDowall. “We carefully drove the car back avoiding all of the chaos on track and then we were penalized for it. But, they are the rules and sometimes they work for you and sometimes they don’t. The car was great and the team did a fantastic job. If our luck can turn, we’ll get some good results.”
It was the turn of team-mate Darryl O’Young (HK) next, who completed his stint in wet and dark conditions but kept the car safe and continued the team’s charge on the 6km-long circuit.
“The conditions were really tough this evening,” he commented. “Driving in the dark is challenging enough but throw in a wet surface on slicks and the level of difficulty is increased ten-fold. But, the car handled well and I was able to continue pushing throughout my stint. Things didn't go our way this weekend but we are getting more confident each and every race.”
Although disappointed with the end result, team engineer Russell O’Hagan believes that there are a number of positive to take to the next round of the Championship, the Six Hours of Fuji.
“It wasn’t the result we hoped for or deserved,” he said. “But if you look at our pace, our pitstops, tyre management and reliability, we have a lot of positives to take from this weekend. We just need to put the result behind us and put it down to bad luck and go into the next four rounds knowing that we are making good progress in our first WEC season.”
The WEC Six Hours of Fuji takes place on 12 October.
Craft Bamboo Racing