It’s a welcomed return to the European Le Mans Series calendar for the fast and challenging Red Bull Ring in Round 2 after a 3-year absence. With extreme excitement, Louis Delétraz and the ORLEN Team WRT were eagerly awaiting to get back on track, which is nestled in the foothills of the Styrian Alps. After 4 hours of action-packed racing, Louis Delétraz took the chequered flag and won his 2nd race of the season!
A delighted Louis said: “It was amazing to have a second victory of the year, the whole team did a great job, my two teammates as well. Last race I started, but this time I was the one to finish the race”.
Confidence was high for Louis after tasting debut success in Barcelona and having the momentum heading into the race weekend. It was a green light for the first 90-min Free Practice session with weather conditions looking unsettled. The session came to a close with Louis in P5, but the top 5 separated only by +0.234 seconds.
For Free Practice 2 the racetrack was wet, which proved to be tricky for the #41 ORLEN Team WRT Oreca 07-Gibson and finished the session in P10. However, there was vital track data collected in preparation for the car set-up in case of a wet race.
The weather continued to prove difficult through the race weekend and into the Qualifying session. A damp track meant the session was also difficult to judge, but Louis managed to out-drive the #41 car to complete a time of 1:21.037 – the fastest of his weekend so far and place the team in P5 for the start of the 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring.
It was a beautiful start to race day with warm sun beaming across the Red Bull Ring. Yifei was first in the car to lead off the line after the formation lap. The #41 car thundered down to the first corner, and sadly lost out on a few positions from P5. Soon after a Safety Car was issued due to a racing incident further down the grid. After a brief time under the Safety Car, it was time to go racing again and Yifei overtook several cars to move back up to P6, and then soon up into P4.
The ORLEN Team WRT came in for their first pit-stop for fuel only after the hour mark. With racing intent, the #41 car moved into P3 and before the 2nd pit-stop were placed in P2, a great effort by Yifei before handing the car over to Robert Kubica on Lap 64.
With an hour and a half to go, dark clouds came over and the first drops of rain on track started to affect cars, slipping and sliding around, especially Turn 7 as conditions continued to worsen towards the end of the race.
With 45mins to go and after completing 120 laps, the #41 car made its final pit-stop to hand over to the Swiss driver, Louis Delétraz. There was an intense battle up front and a great fight between Louis and the #26 G-Drive car, with both exchanging race lead a number of occasions. Louis managed to stay within 0.5 seconds, ready to pounce on any mistake the lead car made and with 20 mins to go, the REMUS-supported driver seized his opportunity to race on the inside of the #26 G-Drive to comfortably take P1 and race to extend the gap at the front.
Once ahead and after a challenging 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring, Louis and the #41 ORLEN Team WRT crossed the line to win the second race of the 2021 ELMS season!
Louis Delétraz: “It’s amazing to have a second victory of the year after two races. The conditions were really tough out there. From dry to very wet for Robert. Then a drying track for me with intermediates and more rain towards the end. Overall, we didn’t make any mistakes, had good pace and I’m glad I could take the lead and bring it home in P1. It’s a team victory so a big thank you to everyone at WRT and my teammates too. I’m looking forward to the next races.”