Race day was difficult for us at the Baku World Challenge. I took the start of the qualifying race in 7th position, which was behind the safety car so there was nothing special going on and it was quite incident free on the first few laps.
I lost one place but after that I started to get used to the Boutsen Ginion McLaren, our pace was quite good and I caught Parente in the McLaren and I eventually managed to overtake him before the pit stop.
So, I had a quite good first stint and I managed to give the car to my teammate Frédéric Vervisch in 6th position, which was not too bad considering I had so little running in the car up until that point.
We did our pit stop and the team did a good job but unfortunately, Frédéric stalled the car, so Parente managed to get back the position. Then, we just had a bit of a messy race with contacts left and right and we kept losing places until we finished in the 12th place. It is a bit disappointing because I think that we definitely had the pace to finish 6th, which would have been a very good position for the main race!
It was my first real pit stop during a race and I am not disappointed, it was very good because and professional by the team. We practiced a lot beforehand as it was my first time but life during a race is always a bit different than in practice but it all went very well!
In the afternoon, the main race was very disappointing for us, sadly. We were leading the race after a few laps but had to withdraw following an electronic problem on the car. I did not even have a chance to run in the car during this race so it was so frustrating! The start of the second race saw a bit of a mayhem, and a lot of things happened so it was good that Frédéric took the lead, even if unfortunately I could not drive.
At the end of this weekend, I can say that it was a very good experience for me; it was my first time driving in the FIA GT Series. I got better and better during the weekend and I really enjoyed it. Frédéric and I know each other so well and I was very glad to race with him and also for the Boutsen Ginion team, representing McLaren! In the future I hope to be driving Formula One, but maybe after my F1 career it would be fun to race in GT again, as I really enjoyed this weekend.
I must also say that Baku is a wonderful city. It is very cosmopolitan and friendly with some awesome buildings. I am sure it will become an important event as it grows in the future.
Merci et au revoir