Tricky conditions see Inception Racing DNF at FIA WEC second round in Spa
Inception Racing x Team Project 1 saw their #56 Porsche RSR-911 R retire from a hard-fought race with three minutes left on the clock at the TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa - Round two of the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship.
With Thursday and Friday morning handing themselves over to free practice sessions, it was Brendan that took to the wheel for qualifying on Friday evening.
In the frantically fought 10-minute qualifier, Brendan once again just like in Sebring placed the #56 third in class for Saturday’s race. With 37 cars in four different classes, it was action-packed from lights out.
An entanglement with Iron Dames’ #85 Ferrari upon the entry into turn 1 saw Brendan drop to fifth and ultimately, receive a drive-through penalty. It was contact further up the field that caused the first yellow flag of the race (a story that was to prevail throughout the six hours), as the two Porsche GT Team cars, #92 and #91 collided.
Early reports of rain at turns 11 to 16 saw the course later be declared wet after an hour of racing. All action, however, was paused as Miro Konopka crashed his ARC Bratislava LMP2 car, seeing marshals hurry to his aid. Fortunately, he walked away unscathed, but it was a lengthy rebuild on the damaged barriers.
The race resumed behind the safety car and Brendan came in to cycle through the usual driver change to Ollie. Once again, the red flag was out due to growing concerns of the downpour - the same feat that saw the premature end to WEC’s first round in Sebring.
Large amounts of water remained standing as the course eventually went green. At the mid-way point the Inception Racing crew looked strong as always, moving up into third as three hours remained. Millroy’s pace was to be disturbed as Alex Brundle in the #34 InterEuropol LMP2 spun and crashed, bringing out yet another safety car and consequently, a red flag.
Into the final hour and it was time for Ben to make his race appearance. With just 23 minutes of the race left, he pitted to hand back over to Brendan, allowing the Bronze driver to complete his minimum required driver time.
As the track evolved - with some areas damp, and others dry it was an incident into the barrier that saw Brendan trapped in the gravel with 20 minutes until the chequered flag. Fortunately, the Porsche was recovered back to the pits, where the crew repaired the damage to the rear of the car and sent it back out for the remaining 10 minutes.
It was unfortunately an early retirement for car #56 as pulling up on the side of the track with three minutes remaining saw a premature end to the teams’ TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa race.
The FIA World Endurance Championship action resumes early June for the series’ blue riband event, the iconic 24 Hours of Le Mans where the trio head into the event fourth in the LMGTE AM Team’s standings on 23 points.
"That was definitely one of the craziest races I've ever had. After a dry first hour for Brendan, Spa then threw the rain down hard on me for about 3 hours and I really enjoyed getting to learn this car and tyre in the rain!
"I pitted in 5th [position] with just over an hour to go. Unfortunately we had to retire the car with damage from an incident late in the race so didn't get rewarded for all of our hard work as a team.
"It was great to share the car with my awesome team mates Brendan and Barni as always. Next stop on the WEC train: Le Mans! I just want to thank the whole Inception Racing team of Optimum Motorsport and Team Project 1 for another epic job in the toughest conditions as well as Porsche Customer Racing for the support."