Jules Gounon to make his second WEC start with Alpine at Spa

Jules Gounon to make his second WEC start with Alpine at Spa

Alpine’s Hypercar reserve driver Jules Gounon is set for his second FIA WEC race start of the season this weekend at Spa, the team has confirmed.

Jules Gounon will be making his second race start with Alpine’s Hypercar squad in the FIA WEC round at Spa Francorchamps, the Austrian will fill in for Ferdinand Habsburg as he recovers from a back injury.

Confirmed as part of an updated entry list for the 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps, the Frenchman will drive the #35 A424 once more as a stand-in for Habsburg whose recovery from his testing injury is still ongoing and progressing well according to the team.

Hasburg had been listed on the FIA WEC’s provisional entry list at the end of April, but at the time, an Alpine representative told Sportscar365 that the entry was only “a placeholder that could be changed if he doesn’t fully recover in time.”

The Austrian was replaced in last weekend’s European Le Mans Series round at Paul Ricard by fellow Alpine driver Chatin, who finished second overall alongside Alex Garcia and Frederik Vesti.

The Andorran racer will be sharing driving duties with Charles Milesi and Paul-Loup Chatin, just like in Imola, when he made his prototype debut as Alpine’s reserve driver.

This weekend’s six-hour encounter at Spa Francorchamps comes after a challenging race for the team at Imola last month where the No. 35 car finished 13th and the sister car 16th following a multi-car crash involving both of the French squad’s cars on the first lap.

“Jules will join us again while Ferdinand continues his recovery, which should only be a few days more,” Alpine Endurance team principal Philippe Sinault said. “We knew that the previous race at Imola would be difficult because of the track characteristics.

“This week, we are back at a more familiar venue, more like the circuits we will encounter for the rest of the season. This week’s target is clear: we want to build upon what we’ve learnt from the first two races to know more about where we stand technically and operationally after the race,” Sinault continued.

“It is an important moment in our project and a veritable run-through, as it’s one of the last opportunities for us to fine-tune the package and operating systems we will have at Le Mans.

“We’ve done a lot of work in the run-up to this race, which should also serve to rally the team and prepare it for the long home stretch before we head to the Sarthe.”

Before the Alpine call up, Gounon had started his Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup campaign at Brands Hatch, finishing third in Race 2. Climax Racing will continue fielding Ralf Aron – who stood in for Gounon during the Fanatec GT Asia season opener at Sepang – for the second round at Buriram.

Meanwhile in the Hypercar class, Proton Competition is confirmed to be running a two-driver lineup as Harry Tincknell has dropped off the entry due to clashing commitments with the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Tincknell was originally set to drive the No. 99 Porsche 963 alongside Neel Jani and Julien Andlauer, but will race with Ford Performance’s factory GTD Pro effort at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Instead, Jani and Andlauer will share driving duties for the event, bringing the total number of two-driver pairings for the race to five.

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