Richard Westbrook says he feels sorry for Alex Lynn, who has been forced to sit out the finale of the FIA World Endurance Championship after contracting COVID-19.
Lynn was supposed to go into the final round in Bahrain alongside partner Maxime Martin fighting for the GTE Pro title, but was forced to stay home after testing positive for the virus last weekend.
In his place, Aston Martin has called up Richard Westbrook from the GTE Am line-up to substitute Lynn, marking the first time he has raced at the Bahrain International Circuit in over a decade.
Speaking to select media ahead of this weekend’s eight hour enduro, Westbrook expressed his sympathy over Lynn’s situation.
It’s really strange circumstances and my heart goes out to Alex,” Westbrook said. “It’s bad enough being involved in a championship and just missing one race, but when you’ve got a proper chance of becoming world champion, which Alex does had he been here, then it must be just really really tough.
“It’s every driver’s worst nightmare and it is a lesson to us all, the situation that we are in right now.
“So I’m just going to do my best for Max. It’s not what I expected when I was told I was racing here a few weeks ago in the 98. But I know Max well, I have shared a car with him before, I know how difficult he is to work with,” he joked. “I’m just going to do my best for Max and try and make Alex proud.”
Martin sits second in the GTE Pro standings, behind team-mates Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen. For his part, he explained that such a late change of team-mates is far from ideal going into the championship battle.
“It’s a big shame that Alex isn’t there, Martin said. “We’ve been sharing the car now for three years, and it’s the first race we won’t do it together since I joined Aston Martin three years ago, so it’s a big hit. The worst case scenario is for him.
“From my side, it’s definitely not optimal to start the weekend with a new team-mate, especially the last race of the season. For sure, we are not in the best position to win the championship. We have to win to have any chances of claiming the championship. So it’s definitely not the best option, but I know Richard very well.”
The Belgian went on to explain that Westbrook was the best choice for Lynn’s replacement, citing the joint experience the pair have had in years prior.
“We have been team-mates, we have been doing Nurburgring together, we have done quite a few races together, so we know each other very well. We have a lot of experience, has been in GTE for many years.
So he knows the whole story, he was at Le Mans, he knows the car, so he was definitely the best option for me with Alex not being here.”