Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Qatar WEC Prologue postponed to Monday following freight delays

The start of the World Endurance Championship’s Prologue has been pushed back to Monday due to delays in the arrival of sea freight in Qatar.

#94 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8: Paul Di Resta, Loïc Duval, Stoffel Vandoorne

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

The two-day pre-season test will now run on 26-27 February at the Losail International Circuit located north of capital Doha, having originally been scheduled for the weekend of 24-25 February.

A total of three test sessions have been scheduled on Monday, beginning at 0830 local time and going all the way till 2200 at night. A further four hours of running will follow on Tuesday between 0900-1300.

This would leave just a day’s gap between the end of Prologue and the first two practice sessions for the Qatar 1812km, the opening round of the 2024 WEC season, on Thursday, 29 February.

“The schedule change is a result of the ongoing geopolitical situation where regular shipping lines have experienced significant delays through the Suez Canal and the Red Sea,” read a statement issued on Friday morning.

“Consequently, part of the sea freight has been delayed arriving at the Lusail International Circuit in Doha, Qatar. 

“To allow the WEC teams enough time to prepare for testing, the decision was made to delay the start of the Prologue.

“There will be no change to the schedule for the season-opening Qatar 1812km the following weekend with the race set to begin at 11am local time on Saturday 2 March.”

Shipping Containers

Shipping Containers

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Several teams had been waiting for cars and crucial equipment to arrive in Qatar on Friday ahead of the championship’s first visit to the Gulf nation.

It has been reported that several containers that were supposed to arrive directly in Qatar via sea had to be unloaded in Saudi Arabia due to disruptions in the Red Sea. They were then sent to Doha via road, a 1500km journey that takes the best part of a day to complete.

The Red Sea, together with the Suez Canal, forms an important gateway between Europe and Asia and accounts for a significant chunk of world trade. But there have been large-scale disruptions since the Houthi military organisation in Yemen began attacking container ships passing through the region, forcing several ships to take a longer journey around the tip of Africa.

Similar shipping issues had already forced the postponement of the Dubai 24 Hours by two weeks in January, creating an unfortunate clash with the opening round of the IMSA SportsCar Championship in Daytona.

As things stand, the first-ever WEC round at Losail will run as scheduled on 2 March, as Qatar takes over the spot of the season opener from erstwhile venue Sebring.

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article WEC Prologue could be postponed amid freight delays
Next article Friday favourite: The Ferrari partners that conquered GT racing

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe