The all-female Iron Dames line-up of Sarah Bovy, Rahel Frey and Michelle Gatting, climbed onto a FIA WEC podium for the fourth time with a solid P3 behind the wheel of the pink Porsche 911 RSR-19, car #85.
“I am pleased with another remarkable weekend for the Iron Dames. Once again, Doriane, Michelle, Rahel and Sarah have demonstrated their outstanding fighting spirit, running for victory from the first to the last corner. This propensity to follow your dream and never give up is the DNA of our project. These promising results are also a reward and an additional motivation for the whole team working relentlessly to put the drivers in the best conditions. I am very grateful to each of them. We are looking forward to the rest of the season,” beamed Deborah Mayer, Iron Dames Project Founder.
The trio showed great teamwork and strong character once again, winning thrilling battles and competing for the top three positions during the 6-hour race. They held third place to the chequered flag to secure the Dames’ first podium finish of the year in the second race.
“P3 at the end, I think it is a good result considering the fight was very tough on-track all race. All three drivers did an amazing job on the track and we can be very happy with the result. We were missing just a little bit of pace compared to the Corvette and the Ferrari but at the end we fought through the race and we will be back in Spa even stronger,” said Iron Dames driver Sarah Bovy.
The pink team had already established itself on Saturday; Sarah Bovy qualified the #85 car on the front row in the GTE Am category after swapping fastest times with the #33 Corvette throughout the session, ending only 0.217 from pole position. After their victory in the 2022 season-ending European Le Mans race at the 4 Hours of Portimão, the three drivers confirmed their speed on this particularly demanding circuit.
When Rahel got in the car for the next two stints, her lap times were very strong, and she was able to close on the Ferraris which had been ahead earlier in the race and overhaul them to take the lead as the race approached the halfway point. She dropped behind the Corvette during a pitstop, but was able to keep within range of the car in front before handing over to Michelle Gatting.
“We drove our hearts out today. We tried to do our best and it was not enough, a few mistakes happened again but we keep pushing. Clearly the Corvette and the Ferrari were faster. Next race will be Spa and then Le Mans. If we continue like this, clearly the first win will come,” shared Iron Dames driver Rahel Frey.
Michelle continued the #85’s strong run in the race, securing the run to the podium places. Despite a Safety Car as the final hour of the race approached, she was able to maintain the consistent pace and held third place to the chequered flag to secure the Dames’ first podium finish of the year.
“It is very nice to take our first podium in FIA WEC this year. We got a small taste of it in Sebring where we were also very close. Of course we want to be on the top of it. We are aiming to having our first win in FIA WEC this year and I am sure we are going to achieve it. I am looking forward to keep working hard and to keep improving,” added Iron Dames driver Michelle Gatting.
Meanwhile, Iron Dame Doriane Pin, competing in the #63 Oreca 07-Gibson PREMA Racing LMP2 car, impressed again and historically made her mark in LMP2 in only her second race. After a podium finish in her first race in the famous 1000 Miles of Sebring, she became the first ever woman to start on pole position in the FIA WEC LMP2 class this weekend.
From her pole position start, she performed a very solid double stint, maintaining a fast pace and staying in the fight for the lead. At only 19 years old, Doriane has already taken her full place in the PREMA team and continues to grow very rapidly alongside her experienced teammates Daniil Kvyat and Mirko Bortolotti.
“I was really excited to take the start from pole position. The first lap was really good, as well as the rest of my two stints. The second one was the best, also in comparison to the more experienced gold and platinum drivers, which is really positive. Mirko and Daniil did an amazing job too, but the safety car didn’t help us at all. We lost the win or at least P2 there and finished in fourth place. Of course, we are disappointed because the whole team deserved a podium. We will work hard for Spa to try and fight for our first win,” said #63 Oreca 07-Gibson PREMA Racing LMP2 driver Doriane Pin.
The next race in the FIA World Endurance Championship is the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on 29th April.
Photograph by Iron Lynx.