07|06|2016 - WEC SPA SATURDAY

FIRST PODIUM FOR MERHI IN THE WEC


Roberto Merhi has been the leading character in the LMP2 category today in the 6 Hours of Spa, in a race that began in the worst possible way, but still finished on the podium, after losing a great victory in the final minutes by a penalty.

In the first corner when Merhi was fighting for first position in LMP2, he was struck from behind by a rival, causing a spin dropping down the field. The Manor driver began a great comeback taking the car up to fourth position at the end of his hour and a half long stint, just 12 seconds behind the leaders. Nevertheless, the damage to the car, caused by the impact at the start, meant that it lost more than a minute in the pits when having to change the back wing on his prototype.

A Safety Car one hour from the end of race closed the field with Roberto again at the wheel in fourth position. The Castellón-born driver continued to push and was placed second twenty minutes from the end, but the virtual leader, since the Alpine that was ten seconds ahead, still had to make a final pitstop to refuel. Unfortunately, a penalty derived from the last pitstop of his car, meant that he dropped to fourth place. Roberto recovered his deserved position on the podium when he passed the Audi driver Filipe Albuquerque right at the finish.

Roberto commented:

“Of course it has been anything except a boring race, it has been decided in the last two laps after six hours of competition. We have had very bad luck, the damage I sustained at the start jeopardized our result, since besides wasting time on the track and forcing to me to recover my place, we also had to repair the car in the pits losing about a minute altogether. Without this we would have led the race easily. In the end a new opportunity opened up with the Safety Car but the penalty that was imposed on us ended our chances when we were second. At a personal level I finally had the satisfaction of the podium at least, as well as the drive at the limit that I had to do to obtain it. Manor has done a great job throughout the weekend, and after this weekend, we have positioned ourselves as one of the strongest teams in the WEC."