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WEC Monza

WEC teams frustrated by safety car rules “lottery” at Monza

Several World Endurance Championship teams and drivers have lamented the impact of safety car rules on the outcome of last weekend’s 6 Hours of Monza race.  

Safety car

United Autosports team boss Richard Dean said the stipulation that the pits are closed when the race director triggers a full course yellow or safety car resembled “a lottery” that some teams could derive “a huge benefit” from while others lost out. 

Article 14.6.5 of the WEC sporting regulations determines that the pit entry is closed in the first three laps of a safety car procedure, with cars only allowed to make an emergency pitstop for five seconds of fuel and/or to replace a damaged tyre/tyres. No restrictions are applied after three laps under the safety car.  

Similarly, article 14.5.2 states that pit entry is closed when FCY is announced, with the same exceptions applied.  

Two safety car periods at Monza played a key role in shaping the LMP2 and GTE Am races, won by Jota Sport and Dempsey-Proton Competition respectively, which prompted calls from drivers to find “a solution”.  

United Autosports' #23 ORECA-Gibson 07 of Giedo van der Garde, Oliver Jarvis and Josh Pierson led 111 of 193 laps, but dropped back from the winning Jota car that pitted just before the third safety car of the race to cover the stranded Proton Hypercar as it instead had to wait. 

Dean told Autosport: “I hate this current FCY, pits closed because if you’re in a position on-track and you think ‘that’s going to be an FCY’ and you can gamble and get in before it gets called, then they got a huge benefit.  

“It hinders everybody else and every time it does that, it’s like a lottery.  

“The 23 car lost the race at that point, we lost 50-something seconds because of that. I just don’t like the lottery side of pits closed.” 

#23 United Autosports Oreca 07 - Gibson: Joshua Pierson, Giedo Van der Garde, Oliver Jarvis

#23 United Autosports Oreca 07 - Gibson: Joshua Pierson, Giedo Van der Garde, Oliver Jarvis

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

LMP2 championship leader Louis Deletraz, who finished third for WRT after passing Jarvis on the final lap, called on organisers to consider revising the rules. 

The #41 ORECA he shared with Robert Kubica and Rui Andrade had to make an emergency stop under the third safety car before returning to the pits shortly afterwards, but the sister #31 car had benefitted and was in contention for victory until it retired with an engine problem in the final hour. 

“Today was probably in terms of luck the worst race I’ve ever had in my career,” said Deletraz, whose car was also delayed during Andrade’s first stop due to traffic in the pitlane.  

“I think the rules should be looked at because the last two races in WEC have been decided by luck with who gets their safety cars right or not. I don’t think that’s what the competition wants.  

“The car was super quick, we should have been fighting for the win.” 

WRT’s nearest championship rival, the InterEuropol Competition squad that won at the Le Mans 24 Hours, ended up fifth with Fabio Scherer similarly disgruntled after he too required an emergency service. 

“The LMP2 level is so high that every race, the last six-hour races, all got decided by the safety car or the full course yellow, not by the performance,” said the Swiss, who admitted his team had been “lucky” to score its first podium at Spa in April as a result.  

#41 Team WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson: Rui Andrade, Robert Kubica, Louis Deletraz

#41 Team WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson: Rui Andrade, Robert Kubica, Louis Deletraz

Photo by: Paolo Belletti

“I don’t have the solution, but there needs to be a solution because it can’t be that it always gets decided by that. It’s for sure not good.  

“I don’t understand when you put safety car, why you don’t open the pits, everyone can do a pitstop, keeps their position and then back to race.” 

Read Also:

In the GTE Am class, the all-female Iron Dames crew twice lost out to the timing of safety cars. Polesitter Sarah Bovy needed to make an emergency stop during the second interruption to recover Vector Sport's ORECA from the barriers at Lesmo 2, before Rahel Frey lost ground by not pitting before the third safety car.  

This meant the Dames were vaulted by the trio of Porsches that eventually finished on the podium, as the #85 car eventually finished fifth.   

Asked if the rules left her feeling frustrated, Frey told Autosport: “Today yes, very much.  

“Today I think the key point was to anticipate. All the cars who did it, they gained. 

“We have to go in to analyse this, we have to keep this in mind and we have to do a better job in Fuji and in Bahrain.”  

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