The thunderous sounds in Round 5 of the European Le Mans Series echoed around the Ardennes Forest as Louis and Team WRT continued to the lead the championship. It made for a very special home race for Team WRT at the exciting Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps for 4 hours of edge-of-your-seat racing. After the heartbreak at Le Mans, Louis Delétraz bounced back and took the chequered flag to win for Team WRT and also win the 2021 ELMS Championship!
Earlier in parts of race week, the weather was as expected, cloudy and intermittent showers, which poured across Spa and teams in hope that conditions would improve before the first 90-minute Free Practice session. As the green light flashed to start the session, it was dry and warm, and the session came to a close without any incidents. The #41 ORLEN Team WRT completed 34 laps and clocked up their fastest time of 2:06.777 and only marginally missed out on the top spot.
The race action was heating up and it was the United Autosports Team who were setting the pace throughout the second Free Practice session. Again, setting the fastest lap time after the 90-minute session came to a close. Louis Delétraz had recorded the teams quickest time of 2:05.771 – a second quicker than the earlier session time.
The 24-year-old Louis Delétraz firmly held the momentum for the 4hrs of Spa-Francorchamps into the Qualifying session. It was a tense session with teams exchanging the top spot several times, and as the flag waved to end the session, Louis took P3 and narrowly missed out on Pole Position by just 0.378.
The excitement was building up before the race start. As the teams prepared for the formation lap and rolling start, Robert Kubica was first to lead the #41 ORLEN Team WRT across the start line and raced down towards ‘La Source’. It wasn’t long before the first incident took place, it was a messy first lap, but Robert was able to capitlise and move up into P2.
It was on lap 15 and a Full Course Yellow was needed due to another incident and the team made their first pit-stop for fuel only. After the first pit-stop, ORLEN Team WRT came out to lead the 4hrs of Spa-Francorchamps. An hour into the race and a Safety Car was needed due to another incident.
On lap 38, the team made their second pit-stop, which saw Kubica hand over to Yifei Ye for the next phase of the race. There was drama for Team WRT as the #41 suffered a puncture to the right rear tyre, which was just before another incident on track which forced a FCY.
For the final stint of the 4hrs of Spa-Francorchamps, Yifei handed the #41 over to Louis Delétraz. Louis guided the car home after some extreme fuel saving to avoid a last lap splash of fuel for the ORLEN Team WRT. The victory also assured the 2021 ELMS Championship Title.
Louis Delétraz: “We are very happy to become the ELMS champions and with one round still to go, it truly is amazing! The race today was not easy and with a few unplanned pit-stops, but in the end, we won! It was an ideal weekend after what happened to us at Le Mans. I want to thank the whole team, who have done an incredible job to get the full programme together and being here is an honour for me. Also a huge congratulations to my team mates Yifei and Robert. Amazing job!”