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Albuquerque seeking clarification on WEC’s safety car rules

Monza LMP2 winner Filipe Albuquerque says he is looking to understand what the rules for safety car deployment are in the FIA World Endurance Championship, after a mid-race safety nearly cost United Autosports victory.

The Anglo-American squad was battling with LMP2 rivals Team WRT for the class lead when the safety car brought out in hour three due to debris on track, caused by an exploding tyre on Ben Keating’s TF Sport Aston Martin.

According to Albuquerque, that safety car came at a wrong moment for the team, which put it in danger of losing the race, but a mistake from Team WRT allowed him to capture the lead of the race.

“It was quite impressive, the pace from our competitors as well,” Albuquerque told MotorsportWeek.com. “We led from the beginning and then it was a bit crazy, when the safety car came. It came right at the wrong time for us.

“It was pure bad luck, when it’s like just on the one lap that it cannot come. We would have we would have dropped a lot of of distance to the leaders.”

“But then they did not catch the opportunity, which meant that we went to the lead with a good gap. And from there on, it was just managing that gap. Eventually we were even pulling away on them. So that shows that we were pretty quick.”

In total, the six-hour enduro at Monza was neutralized a total of three times: once with a safety car, and two full course yellows at opposite ends of the race.

Albuquerque stated that he currently does not understand under which circumstances a safety car is introduced in WEC races, and when a full course yellow is sufficient.

“Everyone pitted before the safety car. Because we were working on the fuel consumption as well. But eventually we were doing a little bit better. We could extend one more lap and it gave us that window.

“But just the question is, when is the safety car? When is the full course yellow? That’s my question. So if it would have been a full course yellow, we would have put like 45 seconds on anyone.”

“But because it was a safety car, we would have lost 40 seconds. So that’s the tricky part now to understand.”

“I need to understand that. I need to understand: when is the safety car? When is full course yellow? Because that, it has a huge play.”

Habsburg: WRT missed passaround

Image: Sergey Safrasov

United Autosports was able to capture the lead after the safety car because Team WRT missed out on the safety car passaround, according to Ferdinand Habsburg.

“Tricky situation, the team’s got to know what car can do the passaround and what cannot,” Habsburg told MotorsportWeek.com “And there’s obviously huge risk if you take it, and you’re wrong.

“We were comfortably in the lead at that point in time. And clearly then just missed the boat when it came to doing the past round, because we ended up being eligible for it. And it cost us the race in the end.”

“Yeah, so missed opportunity. You know, it happens. Everybody makes mistakes. And also, we’ll be making sure that we’ll have systems in place to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

“But I guess this weekend, it costs us the win, we still finished second, which is awesome. And got our first podium of the season. And that’s what was really important the pace that we had, the consistency that we had, really good leading up to the Le Mans.”

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