PODIUM THE REWARD FOR SOME HARD GRAFT IN PORTUGAL
Project 1 celebrated its delayed start to the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship with a podium finish at the second round of the season in Portugal. Second place was a fine way to get the team’s season back on track following the disappointment of missing the first race in Spa-Francorchamps due to accident damage. With a bit more luck, Egidio Perfetti, Riccardo Pera and Matteo Cairoli might have even made a winning return to WEC action.
The podium at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve was mostly down to the efforts of the crew, who have been working flat out since the Spa-Francorchamps race to get the car ready for Portugal. “We had to build the car up from scratch and prepare it for the next FIA WEC race,” said Team Principal Axel Funke. “The fact that everything went smoothly and we were able to be competitive shouldn’t be taken for granted. It was a huge relief to get back racing to be honest, and I would like to thank Pascal Petter and his team of mechanics for all of their hard work.”
Egidio Perfetti has evidently lost none of his pace behind the wheel of a Porsche 911 RSR despite the extended period of absence. An outstanding performance in qualifying gave Project 1 the pole in the GTE Am class, giving the team the best possible starting point for Sunday’s race.
The #56 machine lost some ground initially, but the three drivers worked hard to remain in the hunt for victory throughout the eight-hour race. A smart strategy and some perseverance from the trio of drivers proved to be the keys to success. “We almost did enough to take the win, but we got a ten-second penalty for avoidable contact that basically cost us the victory,” said Axel Funke. “But in the end I think we can be really happy with the weekend and our podium finish.”
The 2021 season marked the FIA WEC’s first trip to Portimāo, and the next premiere is right around the corner. The next round of the season sees the teams converge on Monza for the WEC’s first ever appearance in Italy. The six-hour race at the classic Italian circuit is the final chance to prepare for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in August.