ELMS Champion Roussel Steps Up
Leo Roussel heard just two days after he sealed the 2017 European Le Mans Series title with G-Drive by DragonSpeed in Portimao that he would be making his 6 Hour FIA WEC race debut with the similarly liveried #26 car in Shanghai.
“It’s been an amazing year, and this is a huge bonus,” said Leo in the Thursday afternoon sunshine, the still Silver ranked 22 year old replacing Pierre Thiriet for the World Championship’s Chinese round.
Nico Muller is another first time appearance in the squad, the Team Abt DTM driver making his WEC debut too.
No news yet of whether Roussel will retain the place for the final round of the Championship in Bahrain where the team will see yet another replacement driver as Löic Duval returns to the WEC for the first time since Audi’s departure from the Championship.
Duval will be the team’s 8th driver for the season, Roman Rusinov an ever present, Pierre Thiriet having completed all seven of the opening rounds and Alex Lynn contesting 5 races for the team this season. Ben Hanley and James Rossiter have served as single round substitutes so far this season.
Welcome Back Khaled Al Qubaisi
Another replacement driver here is Khaled Al Qubaisi, the Emirati a very welcome returnee to the WEC paddock as replacement driver for Mike Wainwright in the #86 Gulf UK Porsche, the Team Owner with conflicting business commitments this weekend.
A two-time winner in the Abu Dhabi Proton Porsche in 2016, Khaled has appeared just once this season, at Le Mans, where his Proton Porsche was punted into retirement early in the race by contact from Roman Rusinov in the Porsche Curves. Shanghai will be his 28th start in the WEC.
Porsche Carrera Cup Asia Finale Supports WEC In Shanghai
Three drivers are in with a shot of title winning glory for the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia which sees the closing pair of 2017 races on Saturday, 24 cars in the field for the closing rounds.
Martin Ragginger leads in the points standings just four points ahead of Chris van der Drift with the only other man able to take the overall win third place in the standings Will (brother of Earl) Bamber.