This was Ferdinand’s first visit to the Portuguese circuit located in the Algarve. The weekend started strongly for the #31 Team WRT squad. Even though the car was lacking single-lap pace in Qualifying, the race pace looked promising heading into the first 8-hour race of the season.
Frijns took the Le Mans-style start from P5 on the LPM2 grid and made a clean getaway, quickly moving up into second place, challenging van der Garde for the lead.
Ferdinand took over the car in P2 and just seven laps into his stint, the REMUS Performance Sport Exhaust supported driver made a spectacular move on the Racing Team Nederland car claiming the LMP2 lead with six hours left on the clock. Habsburg showed impressive racecraft and pulled a significant gap over P2 before handing the wheel to Milesi. The young Frenchman had a faultless run and even though the #31 car got hit with two drive-through penalties, he regained second position.
Unfortunately, the second half of the race didn’t go in Team WRT’s favour. In spite of all their efforts and the dominant lead in the early stages, they weren’t able to challenge for a podium position in the end. Partly because of the disadvantage of two penalties costing one minute and also some damage caused by having contact with a competitor. The 31 car crossed the line just one place short of the podium, scoring the team’s first points finish in FIA WEC.
‘’So close, yet so far… It’s disappointing to finish in P4,” – Ferdinand said. “We’ve been working really hard to get our first podium finish and not being able to achieve it is a bitter pill to swallow. Our pace was good and I was pleased with my own performance. We had a great strategy and the whole team did a fantastic job, but somehow things just didn’t go our way this time. There is no reason to brood over what happened. Our focus is already on Monza, and we will make sure to come back even stronger.’’
Ferdinand next races in a month’s time (July 9-11) in Monza with Algarve Pro Racing, for Round 4 of the European Le Mans Series.