Andrew Watson claimed another points finish with the Gulf Racing team as the FIA World Endurance Championship resumed at a dampened Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
After a six-month extended break, the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps signalled the restart to the WEC season with Andrew reuniting with Gulf Racing to pilot the #86 Porsche 911 RSR alongside teammates Michael Wainwright and Ben Barker.
Andrew’s teammates took care of qualifying duties and lined the car up 10th on the GTE Am grid. With the onset of a bout of bad weather, the race started behind the safety car with the first 20 minutes of running taken under slowed conditions. By the end of the first hour, the team had climbed two places to eighth.
As the weather conditions fluctuated throughout the race, the key to a good result was simply staying on the track. With vastly differing strategies across the field, the team ran as high as second place during the third hour before settling into seventh place, maintaining gaps both ahead and behind.
Entering the final hour, the team looked set for that seventh place finish until a mechanical issue sidelined the car in the pits, losing three laps whilst repairs took place. Upon re-entering the race, the team were relegated to tenth place and ultimately crossed the line to take the final point on offer.
“It was great to be back up and running as a team,” Andrew said. “With all the rain, it was certainly an entertaining way to restart the season and meant we all had to be as sharp as possible to make the most out of it. We were in the thick of it in qualifying and it could’ve gone either way with the margins we were running to.
“On race day we made some good progress and managed to gain a few places throughout the first couple of hours. Again with all the different strategies and safety cars, it made the margins very fine which sadly meant we dropped back to tenth when we had the issue in the last hour. We can look forward to Le Mans knowing we have everything we need to score a good result!”
Next up in Andrew’s maiden WEC schedule is the revered 24 Hours of Le Mans next month, on the weekend of September 17-19 - his first experience of the ultimate endurance event.
Images courtesy of Porsche Customer Racing.