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Vosse: WRT’s Double DNF in LMGT3 “Tough to Swallow”

Team WRT left licking its wounds after both LMGT3 entries retire from 6H Spa through accidents…

Photo: Joao Filipe/DPPI

Team WRT team principal Vincent Vosse described the double retirement for the Belgian’s squad LMGT3 effort in the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps as “tough to swallow” after both cars got caught up in incidents involving Hypercar entries.

WRT arrived for its home race in the FIA World Endurance Championship off the back of a 1-2 finish in last month’s rain-hit race at Imola, but left Spa having seen both of its cars eliminated in major incidents.

The No. 46 BMW M4 GT3 of Ahmad Al Harthy, Valentino Rossi and Maxime Martin was first to fall, retiring as part of a multi-car collision at Bruxelles.

In an incident triggered between contact by the No. 20 BMW M Hybrid V8 and Hertz Team JOTA’s Phil Hanson, Al Harthy was subsequently hit by Hanson’s No. 38 Porsche 963 and then suffered heavy front-end damage after colliding with the barrier.

After the race restarted, the sole remaining BMW, driven by Darren Leung, Sean Gelael and Augusto Farfus fought its way into podium contention and ran as high as third in class by the end of the fourth hour.

That was until Gelael was clipped by the No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R of Earl Bamber on the Kemmel Straight, triggering the crash that resulted in the race being red flagged for nearly two hours.

The double retirement has had an impact on WRT in terms of the championship, as Manthey PureRxcing has opened up a significant gap as the only LMGT3 squad so far this season to have recorded three straight podium finishes.

Leung, Gelael and Farfus still sit second in the standings thanks in large part to their Imola victory, but have seen their points deficit almost double from 17 to 35 points.

The No. 46 crew, meanwhile, sits in fourth place, one point further down.

After the race, team principal Vosse admitted to being left frustrated by the fact that the two cars were taken out by incidents not of their own making.

“I think that we have got some good information to take with us, but it’s clear we cannot make a good result without having a clean race, and unfortunately, we did not have a clean race,” Vosse said.

“We must analyze why and improve it. In LMGT3, it was a real shame to see how much work we have put together with the #31 and #46, and that was gone and not by the fault of our drivers.

“It is tough to swallow. Now let’s see what we can do at Le Mans to recover all of those points we have lost here.”

Al Harthy, who was the only one out of the No. 46 drivers to get behind the wheel of the car during the race, shared Vosse’s sentiment, noting he had focused on putting the team on a good strategic footing before the incident occurred.

“I’m obviously really disappointed not to be able to finish the race,” he said.

“We started the race in a very strong position, we knew we had to save the tires for the two hours I was supposed to be in the car and we had a specific strategy for that – to reduce tire degradation.

“We were holding our position in the top four or five, and that was a good place to be with our strategy for the remainder of the race.

“We were running our own race and unfortunately, when I had about nine laps to go before the second pit-stop, two Hypercars made contact and that resulted in them ending our race – there was nothing I could do to avoid it.

“This is racing, things like this happen, and with our experience we know how to get back and be stronger for the next round.”

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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