Craft-Bamboo Racing finished in fifth place in the highest GT class at the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
Craft-Bamboo Racing racked up another 10-points in FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) this weekend (3 May), after finishing in fifth place in the highest GT class at the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in the #99 Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE.
Aston Martin Racing works drivers Fernando Rees (BR), Darryl O’Young (HK) and Alex MacDowall (GB) finished their debut WEC race as a team in seventh place a fortnight ago, as they struggled to get the potential out of the V8 Vantage GTE.
However, at Spa this week, the team made great progress and the results were apparent from the green flag.
Rees started the race from fifth on the grid thanks to a solid qualifying session from himself and MacDowall on Friday afternoon. Within his first lap, the Brazilian driver had moved up to fourth place and, thanks to consistently fast laps and an impressive over-taking maneuver, he was in third place by the end of the first hour.
“It was a good start and I managed to gain two positions by the first pit-stop,” explains Rees. “Our strategy saw me emerge from that in second place, which I managed to hold on to, while, at the same time, adapting my driving style to save two extra laps of fuel.”
At the end of his stint, Rees handed over to O’Young in second place and the Hong Kong driver began his campaign. After almost two hours holding onto the position, the #99’s double-stinted tyres began to give and O’Young struggled to fend off the competition.
“We were running a double stint strategy,”comments O’Young. “It was always going to be tough but it was the team’s only option. We had to take a gamble to be in with a chance of a podium but this time it didn’t pay off – I lost grip in the tyres and those behind me on fresh rubber took advantage of the situation.”
At the third driver change pit stop, O’Young handed the #99 over to MacDowall in fifth place and, despite a sterling double stint that saw the young Brit record the car’s fastest lap, it was the position that the team crossed the line in two hours later.
“When you’ve been that close to your first WEC podium it’s hard to miss out,” comments MacDowall. “But we should be pleased with our race today. We are much happier with the set up and balance of the car going into Le Mans following this weekend and the team has been faultless, despite it being a difficult time for all of us.”
The Craft-Bamboo Racing team was in mourning this weekend following a mountain biking accident that tragically killed team co-owner Nigel Vaulkhard on Thursday.
“To say I’m proud of the team is an understatement,” comments Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing. “To continue racing with the loss of Nigel is brave but to make so much progress this weekend too shows how his passion and determination to perform to our best is ingrained in the team’s ethos. He may be gone but his influence on the team will last forever.”
The team will next compete together in the world-famous 24 Hours of Le Mans, the centre-piece of the WEC calendar. The official test takes place on 1 June with the race starting a fortnight later on 14 June.