Doriane Pin, Christina Nielsen to make WEC debut at Spa with Iron Dames
Following a positive Covid test for Sarah Bovy, Iron Dames will alter their line-up at this weekend's WEC round at Spa Francorchamps, running series rookies Doriane Pin and two-time IMSA champion Christina Nielsen.
The Iron Dames line up at the upcoming 6H of Spa Francorchamps - second round of the 2022 World Endurance Championship - will be altered due to a positive COVID test for Sarah Bovy, who will thus not be available for her home race. The all-female team has expanded its operations in 2022 including campaigns in ELMS, FIA WEC, GT World Challenge Europe Endurance, Ferrari Challenge. The driver trio - except for the Ferrari one make series, where young Frenchwoman Doriane Pin is contesting her first full season in a one-car effort for Iron Dames - was scheduled to remain unchanged, with Bovy, Gatting and Frey at the wheel of the bright pink Ferrari 488. "We can confirm that following a COVID test earlier today, as part of our internal safety protocol, Sarah Bovy has tested positive and will not be racing this weekend at Spa", the team's official statement read on Wednesday. Michelle Gatting will also have to isolate and won't be able to race this weekend after spending time with Bovy over the last few days. "The health of our team is our main priority and neither driver has been in contact with any other team member", the Iron Lynx release continued. Bovy seems to be feeling fine and the talented Belgian racer confirmed to Racers she is planning to get back in the car next week for the ELMS round at Imola if negative.
Alongside team captain and project manager Rahel Frey, there will therefore be two new drivers, making their debut in FIA WEC at Spa: Doriane Pin and Christina Nielsen. Pin, 18, is part of the Iron Dames line up since 2021, having raced alongside Bovy and Manuela Gostner in the Michelin Le Mans Cup. The young racer - who was a finalist in the Girls On Track - Rising Star programme in 2020 - was then promoted to the Ferrari Challenge squad at the Mugello Finali Mondiali in 2021. This year, she is contesting the full season in the Pirelli Trophy, which she currently leads after one utterly dominant round at Portimao. Nielsen, 30, is one of the most successful female drivers in sports car racing in the US. The Danish driver has in fact spent most of her racing career Stateside in the last few years, where she became the first woman to seal an IMSA title in 2016. She would make history again in 2017, as she defended the crown with Scuderia Corsa. In 2019, Nielsen was part of the all-female crew Heinricher Racing in IMSA, where she claimed six top-ten finishes. She then contested partial campaigns in GT World Challenge Asia, Intercontinental GT Challenge, GT4 America, NLS. Last year, Nielsen claimed class victory in the ADAC 24H of the Nurburgring at the mighty Nordschleife, sharing an Audi R8 LMS GT4 with Pippa Mann, Carrie Schreiner, Célia Martin. She was initially scheduled to return to the "Girls Only" line up at this year's 24H race at the Nurburgring, but later announced she would part ways with the project. The Dane will therefore make her first start in WEC, even though she has already contested three 24 Hours of Le Mans - respectively in 2016, 2017, and 2018. It will be her return to Ferrari machinery since her championship winning season in 2017. "I of course feel extremely sorry for the girls who cannot race this weekend and I know for a team these types of last minute changes are never ideal", wrote Nielsen in an Instagram post. "I’m grateful for the opportunity though that Iron Dames have given me and I am very much looking forward to being back in Ferrari. It’s been a few years." The 6H of Spa will get underway on Saturday 7th May at 13:00 local time.