After the two-month-long summer break, the engines of the FIA World Endurance Championship revved again, with Matteo Cairoli back on track for the penultimate round of the season. The Italian driver raced at the iconic Fuji Speedway, a track that enlightens the drivers’ talent and where the driver from Como collected great results over the last few years; he jumped back at the wheel of Project 1 – AO’s Porsche 911 RSR, together with the two Americans PJ Hyett and Gunnar Jeannette. Cairoli brought home the team’s best seasonal result, finishing the 6 Hours of Fuji fifth after a well-handled race.
Cairoli started the weekend in the best way possible: on a rainy Friday, he topped the first free practice session until the last few laps, when some cars decided to switch their wet tires for some slick ones. After focusing on the race pace during the second free practice, Cairoli handed the car to PJ Hyett, who then took part in the qualifying round, which ended with an eighth place in the GTE Am class. The American also started the race with a double stint, and later handed the car to Jeannette; the driver born in 1982 struggled to find grip in a pretty delicate moment of the race, and Project 1 – AO decided to switch drivers and let Cairoli in at the following pit stop. The driver from Como then alternated behind the wheel with his teammate until the end of the race, handling excellently the most delicate moments of the race, including the frantic overtaking stages with the Hypercars that were battling for the lead and the championship title.
Caroli therefore brought the German team’s car to the checkered flag, and, despite an unlucky contact with Dempsey – Proton Racing’s Porsche 77 during the last few laps, he was able to reach fifth place, which is also the best finish of the season so far. The World Endurance Championship will remain in Asia for the last seasonal round, with the 8 Hours of Bahrain scheduled for November 4.
“I’m really satisfied with this weekend’s result; the Fuji Speedway is very beautiful, and I’ve always performed well here. The weekend was tough, we worked really hard during the free practice sessions to find the right setup but, in the end, it was all worth it. As always, I want to thank Project 1 – AO for giving us a great car during the weekend, and I have to give my best compliments to my teammates, as they gave everything from the start to the very end of the race. I’m happy to have brought home the season’s best result, and I hope that we can do even better during the last round in Bahrain.”