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Iron Dames ‘Building Momentum’ Despite WEC, ELMS Setbacks

Rahel Frey says Iron Dames ‘keep learning’ even as recent setbacks cost class wins in ELMS and FIA WEC…

Photo: Javier Jimenez/DPPI

Rahel Frey believes the Iron Dames “have the confidence” to break through a recent streak of setbacks as the team focuses on the 24 Hours of Le Mans, although she personally will not be part of the lineup for that event.

The No. 85 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 was classified fifth at the most recent FIA World Endurance Championship round at Spa.

Frey, Michelle Gatting and Sarah Bovy initially crossed the line fourth but were demoted after a five-second penalty for contact with the No. 92 Manthey PureRxcing Porsche 911 GT3 R.

That result came after a race that was dominated by Bovy in the early stages but unraveled after the red flag through both a botched wheel change and a late-race fuel stop that prevented a class win.

That marked the latest setback through what has been a tough campaign for the all-female squad in both WEC and European Le Mans Series competition, where strong performances have gone unrewarded through varying circumstances.

Those setbacks were not lost on Frey, (who will not be part of the lineup at Le Mans as she will be replaced by Doriane Pin) although the Swiss driver remained  assertive about the team’s abilities.

Additionally, she also drew positives from Iron Dames’ strongest performance with the Lamborghini to date since switching brands, noting that the outfit is still working through the learning phase with the car.

“We somehow have the confidence,” Frey said.

“We know that we can do well, all of us. Doriane will be back for Le Mans, her home race, which is also great.

“I think the team learned a lot in the first season. Clearly, the car is still new although we had already one season with it last year. There is still a lot to learn.

“Each race weekend we discover new things which we basically can improve, which are also helpful to gain performance.

“So we are building up, we gain momentum and this is always a positive note for the big races coming up, for Le Mans and also Spa then later on.”

Frey went on to further touch upon the team’s stumbles in the first races of the year, noting that the repeated misfortune “starts to be hard to swallow.”

Most notably, a class win at the ELMS opener at Barcelona fell apart through a wheel nut issue at the final pitstop, while the No. 85 Lamborghini retired from the 6 Hours of Imola after contact from behind at the start.

“This is still part of of our job, it’s still part of the sport,” Frey said.

“We win together, we lose together. [Spa was] another day we lose together, but in the end it only makes us stronger.

“What’s important is that we know we are fast, we know that we can rely on each other and in the end we can still rely on our team.

“It’s very unfortunate, at least we know what the problem is, now we need to sort it out and I hope we can minimize the mistakes that have happened so far this season.”

Even though Bovy and Gatting are only ninth in the LMGT3 drivers’ standings after three races, Frey noted that the team is ‘definitely gaining momentum’ and identified several factors that made her hopeful of a strong outcome at Le Mans.

“We keep learning, we keep finding little things which helps to improve the entire package,” she said.

“We definitely gain momentum. This is great, very, very good to see and I think we can even build on that momentum. We have seen [in Spa] we are doing well with the tire management.

“When it’s getting cooler, it’s also coming towards us. We also know that the Lamborghini is very strong in rain condition.

“[That] means whatever can happen in a 24-hour race, especially in Le Mans, I think it only comes into our favour.

“It makes me positive towards Le Mans, if I think that the girls can do well in Le Mans.”

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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