Antonio Felix Da Costa, #38 JOTA, was pleased to turn around the race start clash and lead a 1-2 LMP2 victory at the 8 Hours of Portimao.
JOTA turned a 1-2 from qualifying into a 1-2 finish in the LMP2 category, albeit decided in the last five minutes when home-hero Da Costa made a move on Tom Blomqvist to win in LMP2.
However, the start of the race featured contact between the two JOTAs after Da Costa tapped Blomqvist (#28) at Turn 3 and spun him around.
Despite the challenge, they came out with the team’s first 1-2 under the new-to-Season 9 collective JOTA name.
“I got kind of boxed in there into Turn 3,” the Portuguese recalled the packed field into the opening turns.
“I thought I kind of lunged enough and then is this an awkward situation. And when I see that it was it was not going to work out, I tried to back out and I just needed another metre or something like that to make it work.
“And Tom [Blomqvist] – I guess he didn’t see me and I ended up hitting him.
And I felt I felt really bad, you know, it was a race incident… [and] you don’t want to have contact with a teammate and I’m very glad that we got to have that showdown at the end to kind of clear things out and have a nice fair clean fight at the end, to put on a show.
He apologised to the #28 crew but acknowledged that what happened could not be changed with eight hours racing ahead of him, and teammates Anthony Davidson and Roberto Gonzalez.
The reigning Formula E champion explained his chase to overtake Blomqvist at Turn 5 and claim his first Portimao victory (in a car).
— WEC (@FIAWEC) June 13, 2021
“I was quicker than Tom, but I knew without traffic it would not be possible to to overtake and he was driving really really well doing no mistakes.
“I was just waiting for traffic and if the opportunity came up, so I could see the slower GTEs coming up and I decided to close the gap that lap to try and really have a go.
“To be honest, I feel for him because I’ve been exactly in that situation in Bahrain last year with Gabby (Gabriel Aubry of the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing) in the last four or five laps as well.
“So I knew exactly how to do it because it has been done to me.
“Luckily it turned out and so happy to win at home.”
This was Da Costa’s third win in a row in three different cars (Formula E, Stock Car, LMP2) and put the #38 trio on top of the LMP2 drivers’ standings at 56 points each.