A comeback drive sees Juan Manuel Correa and Prema teammates narrowly miss out on LMP2 top-five finish
Fortunately for Correa, this wasn’t his first outing in LMP2 machinery. The American-Ecuadorian racer contested a pair of European Le Mans Series races in 2022, scoring a podium and a win at Spa and Portimão respectively. That meant the 23-year-old was well acquainted with the team, car, and circuit ahead of his first WEC appearance.
Unfortunately, proceedings didn’t get off to the best start when Correa’s team-mate, Netherlands native Bent Viscaal was impeded by traffic on his fastest lap in qualifying. As a result, the #9 car ended the session in P8 with ground to make up in Sunday’s 6-hour race.
Correa was given the daunting task of executing the race start and opening stint. Ever the composed wheel-to-wheel racer, he drove calmly in the early stages and by the end of the first hour, had climbed to P6 in the LMP2 standings.
Filip Ugran and Viscaal picked up where Correa left off, battling hard amongst an ultra-competitive midfield pack in an attempt to maintain position for the remainder of the race.
A combination of a well-implemented strategy from the Prema pit wall and some pacey late-stage stints from his teammates put Correa in the pound seat for the final stint. He was able to battle back into P6 and even began pressuring P5 as the clock wound down. Ultimately it was not to be, but Correa certainly made his presence known, crossing the line less than four-tenths adrift of the fifth-place car. While the #9 car crossed the line in P6, it collected the points for a P5 finish as a car further up the order competed in Portugal as a wildcard.
Correa’s next outing in the WEC series will be at the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans held at France’s Circuit de la Sarthe, which is set to occur on 10-11 June 2023.