WEC: Doriane Pin stars as late race penalty ends podium chance
"It was a pretty solid run for me today. The conditions were tricky and challenging at the beginning." – Doriane Pin continues to make a remarkably positive impression at the highest level of endurance racing, with her performances not going unnoticed, despite a late penalty for her team taking the #63 Prema Oreca out of contention for a strong finish.
Doriane Pin continued her impressive debut season in the World Endurance Championship with a superb performance at Spa-Francorchamps. The young Frenchwoman took the opening stint of the six hour race in tricky conditions, initially taking the lead before running the majority of her stint as the top silver rated driver, holding second position in LMP2. The #63 Prema crew look set for another podium finish, before a late race penalty for a safety car infringement in the closing stages put pay to hopes of a good finish, ending the race in tenth.
Spa was arguably the sight of one of Doriane’s best personal performances in 2022 where she substituted for Michelle Gatting in the Iron Dames’ GTE-Am Ferrari, so she was hoping that these fond memories would translate into another strong performance. With the race traditionally taking place on Saturday, this meant the opening two practice sessions were held on Thursday.
Track conditions were dry for both sessions, with Daniil Kvyat setting the fastest lap in the #63 Prema in the first session, placing 5th in LMP2. Despite a disrupted second session, Doriane completed 12 laps with the Oreca-07 ending the session 8th in LMP2, with just over one second covering the first nine cars.
Friday morning brought the third and final practice session, with the weather vastly different and typical of Spa with cold and wet conditions. Despite extremely limited wet weather experience in the Oreca-07, Doriane acquitted herself extremely well and held second place in LMP2 for the majority of the session. As drivers switched to slicks in the closing stages, Bortolotti set the fifth fastest time to close out final practice. It was Kvyat who was tasked with qualifying the #63 Prema and the former F1 driver put in a superb effort to qualify third.
Doriane was once again tasked with starting the race and faced extremely challenging conditions, starting on slicks on a damp track. Nonetheless, Pin made a fine start and grabbed the lead on the first lap as an early safety car was brought out. Despite falling back to second on the restart, the only position she lost in her first stint was to IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship race winner Tom Blomqvist. Doriane remained in second place and the top rated silver driver as she pitted for the first time, remaining in the car for an opening double stint.
In the pit sequence, Doriane lost second place to Sean Gelael but she was determined to catch the WRT driver and immediately closed the gap. Pin made a brilliant move to re-take second position and extended the gap to the drivers behind, cementing her place as the top silver rated driver as the track fully dried. Continuing to set fast and consistent lap times, Doriane held second position until the second pitstop where she handed over to Kvyat.
Kvyat followed up Doriane’s strong performance by running a double stint in which he remained inside the top-5 before handing over to Bortolotti from fourth position. The Italian driver ran as high as second two-thirds into the race and another podium appeared likely for the #63 crew.
Unfortunately, Kvyat was forced to serve a three minute stop-and-go penalty in the closing stages following a safety car infringement. This took the car out of contention for a good result, with the #63 Prema Oreca-07 ending the six hour race tenth in the LMP2 class.
"It was a pretty solid run for me today”, Doriane said. “The conditions were tricky and challenging at the beginning. I had some fun overtaking the United Autosports car at one point and was fighting with platinum drivers.”
“The very good pace is another positive point of the day."
Despite the final result, Doriane can take heart in another strong personal performance, displaying skill in challenging conditions and superb racecraft in her overtaking manoeuvres. Doriane continues to make a remarkably positive impression at the highest level of endurance racing, with her performances not going unnoticed.
The next race for the #63 Prema crew is the most prestigious on the calendar, the Le Mans 24 Hours. It will be Doriane’s first start in the iconic race, however her experience driving for Iron Dames in the Le Mans Cup will serve her in good stead, standing on the podium in both of her previous appearances at Circuit de la Sarthe.