It was a thrilling and challenging day in terms of driving and strategy for the third round of the 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
Wet weather caused many interruptions and impacted race strategy during the 6 Hours races at the iconic Belgian circuit, the scene of the Iron Dames’ historic victory last year at the 24 hours of Spa.
The four Iron Dames competing in the FIA WEC, Sarah Bovy, Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting and Doriane Pin had a hard-fought and encouraging race as they faced the rainy Ardennes weather and tough competitors with whom they struggled relentlessly.
In the Porsche 911 RSR-19 car #85, the all-female Iron Dames line-up of Sarah Bovy, Rahel Frey and Michelle Gatting had a solid race, staying clear of the trouble and always remaining in the battle for victory.
Despite narrowly missing pole position on Friday, Sarah Bovy immediately put the trio in the fight at the front of the race, Rahel Frey kept pressure on the leading contenders and in a thrilling conclusion, Michelle Gatting tried her utmost to go for the podium as she did two weeks ago in Portimão, eventually finishing in a frustrating but solid fifth place.
After 3 races, the tone is set for an intense world championship in which they have a great deal to play based on their team cohesion.
In LMP2, Iron Dame Doriane Pin, competing in the #63 Oreca 07-Gibson PREMA Racing took the start in P3, completing a masterful double stint, getting the best of reference drivers such Tom Blomqvist to take the lead and fight for almost 3 hours for the top positions, confirming her strong ability to fight at the front and to race in the rain.
After these three remarkable first races in LMP2, Doriane is now looking forward to her first 24 hours of Le Mans which she will tackle with composure.
DEBORAH MAYER, IRON DAMES PROJECT FOUNDER
I am very proud of the Iron Dames who once again battled at the front of the race in both cars with great driving skills and courage facing challenging adversity during an eventful race. Fighting spirit and reliability have been there since the start of the season, which are extremely positive indicators for the future, starting with the 24 hours of Le Mans which will be a highlight of the season. The Iron Lynx Racing family will be there more prepared, united and determined than ever.
We finished P5 after a very tough race – we have to be happy that we survived all the chaos and that we avoided any driving mistakes considering how hard it was to keep the car on track. The new rules with safety cars in WEC is changing the game a little bit but we have to deal with that. At the end we made it and it is good points for the championship. Next one is Le Mans – let’s hope that all the back luck is now behind us and that we have a peaceful race there.
Spa was definitely a challenge for us today. We gave it everything but it was simply not enough. We did well on the driving side, we have some things to improve like the out lap and some traffic management but it was a good test for the big one: the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It will not be easy, we have some competitors who are very fast. We’ll keep analysing and keep working in the build up to Le Mans.
It was a tricky day at Spa. Unfortunately we were a little bit unlucky with the safety car. Sarah managed to make a gap that was destroyed. We have a good package to win races, we just need to find a little bit more performance in the car and as drivers to improve the out lap. I have the feeling the victory is just around the corner.
It was a pretty solid run for me today. The conditions were tricky and challenging at the beginning but I had some fun overtaking the United Autosports at one point and was fighting with platinum drivers. I had good pace which is another positive point for me today.