Tough for Villeneuve at the World Endurance Championship at Sebring
SEBRING | Ranked 30th on Friday evening during the inaugural stage of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) contested at the Sebring circuit, Jacques Villeneuve did not have a particularly successful stay in Florida.
Recruited by the modest Vanwall team, the Quebec driver suffered a spin 90 minutes from the end of this eight-hour event.
“Something broke in the suspension, explained Villeneuve, which destabilized the car. Luckily, I didn't hit anything and the car didn't suffer too much damage. »
Video footage shows he was very lucky not to have been hit by other competitors who were coming at full speed behind him. When his misfortune occurred, he had already conceded four laps to the race leader.
In the end, Villeneuve and his teammates, the Frenchman Tom Dillmann and the Argentinian Esteban Guerrieri, united their efforts to complete a total of 215 laps, or 24 less than Toyota, the winning team in the premier Hypercar category.
Steep slope to climb up
What conclusions can be drawn from its first laps? Villeneuve showed up at Sebring with the aim of taming his new car in anticipation of the other races of the season including the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
But we have to admit that his time runway was limited all week in Florida. For all sorts of reasons including mechanical problems.
In the race, he was the least used driver of his team, driving for 84 minutes, compared to two hours and 54 minutes for Guerrieri and a little more than three hours for Dillmann.
We have to admit that the Vanwall team simply does not have the means to compete with the big powers on the board, which have the names Toyota, Ferrari, Porsche and Peugeot. The season is likely to be very long and the slope will be steep to climb.
The second round of the Championship will take place on April 16 at the Portimão circuit, in Portugal. A track where Villeneuve has never raced. Again, do not expect miracles from it.
Dominion of Toyota
Moreover, Toyota orchestrated a resounding double at Sebring on Friday when the number 7 car driven by Mike Comway, Kamui Kobayashi and José Maria Lopez crossed the finish line first ahead of the sister team (no 8) driven by Sébastien Buemi , Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa.
In third row came one of the two Ferraris, driven by Antoine Fuoco, Miguel Molina and Nicklas Nielsen. The Scuderia may have celebrated its return to endurance racing after 50 years of absence with a presence on the podium, but it was still two laps behind that it conceded to the Toyotas.
Satisfying course for Nepveu
Still at Sebring, Thomas Nepveu made his first official laps in the Porsche Carrera Cup, the two initial rounds of which were presented on Thursday.
The young driver from Oka finished 14th in the first round and 11th in the second.
Registered in the Pro category, the highest level, Nepveu quickly realized that he was up against talented and experienced drivers.
“Of course I made a few mistakes, but that is part of my learning process. But overall I'm happy with my two races,” he said. outcome of the two hotly contested competitions. The next two races of the 2023 season will take place in mid-April on the streets of Long Beach, California, as a prologue to the IndyCar Series event.
American Riley Dickinson , particularly dominant, won the first two stages of the Carrera Porsche Cup at Sebring.
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