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24hr Daytona: Podium For Ferrari

Ferrari of Risi Competizione takes second place

The Ferrari 488 GTE of Risi Competizione just missed out on victory in the GTLM class at the 57th edition of the 24 Hours of Daytona. The car finished runner-up just over a second (1.149) behind Team RLL’s BMW no. 25. The race was suspended with the red flag due to rain about two hours from the end when the Houston team’s Ferrari was battling for the win after leading for a number of laps. The Ferrari crews had difficult races in GTD class where the best result was ninth for the 488 GT3 of Via Italia Racing, which started from pole. The two 488 GT3 cars of Spirit of Race and Scuderia Corsa had to retire while in amongst the leaders. Both of them had also led at times.

GTLM. Ferrari was highly competitive right in the GTLM class right from the start. Car no. 62 of Risi Competizione, with its young but very experienced crew, kept out of the trouble that dogged the class from the early stages. So, while Chevrolet, Ford and BMW encountered problems, David Rigon and James Calado kept their car between second and fourth place ahead of the Porsches and the second of the Corvettes. With nightfall, all the drivers, including Alessandro Pier Guidi and Miguel Molina, had done at least one stint at the wheel, with some of them putting in a double stint, and others like Molina, even a triple. At around 4 am, the rain began to fall and James Calado performed like a true world champion. The British driver was much faster than the rivals, comfortably holding onto first. He then handed the wheel to Pier Guidi but the race was immediately red flagged due to the flooded track. After a break of over two hours the battle resumed with the Ferrari still in the leading group and ready to seize any opportunity. One such chance came when the Porsche no. 912 and the Ford no. 66, which had occupied the top two positions on a different strategy from that of the Ferrari team, came into contact. Two hours from the end, the 488 GTE slipped back into third after a pit stop, but Calado, back behind the wheel, took it up to second on the tail of the BMW no. 25 of Augusto Farfus. Shortly after came the second and final suspension with red flag. It was the first time there had been two red flags in the history of the 24 Hours of Daytona.

GTD. In GTD class Marcos Gomes, who took pole position in car no. 13 of Via Italia Racing, enjoyed an excellent start to the race. The Brazilian driver, who had initially lost the leading place to Ben Keating’s Mercedes, fought back and pulled away from his rival before handing over to Longo. Francisco was rather unlucky, spinning and losing two laps. The car then lost two more in the early part of the night but with some great stints Gomes, Andrea Bertolini and Victor Franzoni made up three laps to finish in ninth position. Spirit of Race no. 51 and Scuderia Corsa no. 63 had a difficult race. The 488 GT3 driven by Mathias Lauda, Pedro Lamy, Daniel Serra and Paul Dalla Lana was involved in an accident with the Lamborghini no. 47 and lost 30 laps for repairs before retirement. The Ferrari of Scuderia Corsa, crewed by Toni Vilander, Cooper MacNeil, Jeff Westphal and Dominik Farnbacher, was in the mix for victory until two and a half hours from the end when, at the bus stop chicane, Vilander crashed into a lapped Porsche that was going slowly. The damage was too great to continue. The overall race went to Alonso-Kobayashi-Van der Zande-Taylor.

Tale of the race:

Race sets off under a threatening sky

The 57th edition of the 24 Hours of Daytona kicked off under a leaden sky threatening rain, previously only forecast for Sunday. There are four Ferraris in the race.

GTD. Marcos Gomes is now in second in GTD class with the 488 GT3 of Via Italia Racing. He will be sharing the wheel with Francisco Longo, official Ferrari driver Andrea Bertolini, and Victor Franzoni. Spirit of Race no. 51 is in ninth with Mathias Lauda in the hot seat. He will be joined by crewmates Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Daniel Serra. The Ferrari of Scuderia Corsa is further back in the group with Cooper MacNeil, Toni Vilander, Jeff Westphal and Dominik Farnbacher.

GTLM. Ferrari no. 62 of Risi Competizione, the only one competing in this class, started from fourth. David Rigon took the green flag and will alternate at the wheel with World Endurance Championship winners James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi, and Miguel Molina.

4 Hour Update: Ferraris Soldier on into Night at Daytona:

Four Ferraris continued their fight into the night at the Daytona International Speedway. Three caution periods blighted what has otherwise been an aggressive start to the 24 hour classic. The first only 2.5 hours into the race lasted nearly 25 minutes, while the second occurred just over an hour later and the third just before the 4 hours had elapsed.

GTLM. The no. 62 Ferrari of Risi Competizione cycled through its four driver line up, after starting with Davide Rigon, then to James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi and now Miguel Molina. After staying competitive through the first three hours, Risi pitted just before the second caution period and jumped the entire GTLM field. As the green flag continued, Miguel fell back to 3rd position before pitting to insert Davide Rigon back into the car.

GTD. Marcos Gomes did a stellar job in the no. 13 Via Italia Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 to establish a 9 second lead over the rest of the GT-Daytona category before handing over to Chico Longo. Chico, however, slipped back, ultimately settling in 21st position before handing over to Andrea Bertolini and Victor Franzoni before cycling back to Chico. The no. 51 Spirit of Race Ferrari also cycled through their full driver line up, with Paul Dalla Lana back in the car with 20 hours to go and the car running in 8th position. The no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari followed a slightly different strategy, with a long opening stint by Cooper MacNeil, who was relieved by Jeff Westphal and then Dominik Farnbacher. The car currently runs in 7th position.

10 Hour Update: Ferrari in Strong Position Heading Towards Half-Way:

The Ferrari contingent found a rhythm in the 24 Hours at Daytona, especially in GTLM.  Several caution periods again interrupted the action early in the period, but things have since settled down and drivers have enjoyed several hours of consecutive green flag running.

GTLM. Risi Competizione and Alessandro Pier Guidi have guided the no. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE into the lead of the highly competitive GTLM category.  Risi has cycled through their drivers and built a gap of over 20 seconds to the second place no. 66 Ford before pitting to relieve Pier Guidi in favor of Miguel Molina.

GTD. Disaster struck the no. 51 Sprit of Race 488 GT3 when Paul Dalla Lana had an incident that damaged the front suspension of their Ferrari.  Repairs were enacted and the car returned to the circuit, but is now down nearly 30 laps from the leading car int eh category.  Scuderia Corsa’s no. 63 has taken the position of the leading Ferrari challenger, currently running in 10th place with Jeff Westphal at the wheel.  The Scuderia Corsa team has wisely limited Ferrari Factory driver Toni Vilander’s driving time to a single stint, saving his time for the closing stages of the race.  Via Italia Racing has pursued a similar strategy, with Marcos Gomes only recently returning to the cockpit.  The car is currently in 19th position, several laps back.

13hr Update: MacNeil in command in GTD

Eleven hours until the chequered flag, Scuderia Corsa’s Ferrari no. 63 holds the lead in the GTD class of the 24 Hours of Daytona, with Cooper MacNeil at the wheel.

GTLM. The Ferrari 488 GTE of Risi Competizione, driven in this segment by Davide Rigon, is in sixth. This car took advantage of a neutralisation of the race to have its front brake discs replaced.

GTD. The thrilling battle for class leadership has continued uninterrupted by the driver changes that took place around Hour 12. Cooper MacNeil, after taking over from Toni Vilander, is in first holding off the attacks of his pursuers. The leading cars are bunched within two seconds of each other. Victor Franzoni, one of the fastest drivers on the track with the 488 GT3 of Via Italia Racing, is trying to move up from 16th in the standings, while Paul Dalla Lana is in the pits for repairs to the rear suspension of his Ferrari no. 51 damaged by a collision with another car.

16 Hour Update: the skies open and Pier Guidi takes the lead:

Sixteen hours into the 24 Hours of Daytona, Alessandro Pier Guidi is leading the GTLM class. The heavy rain that started falling with ten hours to go has further complicated the race, currently under the safety car due to an accident involving Tommy Milner’s Corvette.

GTLM. The rain forecast at around 5am bore fruit and the 488 GTE of Risi Competizione took full advantage of the situation. After replacing Davide Rigon, James Calado produced an extraordinary performance in dangerous conditions to build up a lead of almost 20 seconds over his nearest pursuer in the class. However, the eleventh safety car of the race frustrated all this effort by compacting the group, even though Alessandro Pier Guidi, who replaced Calado, remains firmly in first place.

GTD. After being up among the leaders with Cooper MacNeil, Ferrari no. 63 is continuing to do well with Jeff Westphal, who took the class lead before losing ground slightly, while remaining in contact with race leaders. At the last stop, the Scuderia Corsa team also changed drivers, with Dominik Farnbacher taking over. Andrea Bertolini, in the 488 GT3 of Via Italia Racing, is putting in a great stint in the rain, even though he remains back in fourteenth. Dalla Lana’s car no. 51 is still in the pits.

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