Blancpain GT Series – Seven Ferraris at Paul Ricard 1000 km
After their extraordinary victories at Silverstone in the last round of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, this weekend the Ferrari entrants in the Paul Ricard 1000km will be seeking to confirm the competitiveness displayed in England.
Pro. Seven Ferraris are due to start, with all eyes on the 488 GT3s of SMP Racing in the Pro class and of AF Corse the in Pro-Am, winners at the beginning of April. After the fantastic comeback in the final minutes of the race when car no. 72 crewed by Mikhail Aleshin and official Competizioni GT drivers Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina clinched their first win of the season, the only Ferrari crew in the Pro class is back in the mix for the title.
Pro-Am. In the Pro-Am class, the Prancing Horse cars of AF Corse and Tempesta will be seeking repeat victories. With their win at Silverstone, the trio of Niek Hommerson, Louis Machiels and Andrea Bertolini overcame the lousy luck that marked their races at the start of the season, despite their consistent competitiveness. The 488 GT3 of Tempesta Racing will once again be in the hands of Chris Buncombe, Jonathan Hui and Chris Froggatt who, after their winning debut at Monza and fourth place at Silverstone, aim to consolidate their championship lead.
Am. In the Am class, the Ferrari of HB Racing is seeking to make up the point separating it from Barwell Motorsport, while Wolfgang Triller, one of the car’s three drivers, aims to recoup a three-point deficit on the class leadership. The German will be joined by his compatriots Jens Liebhauser and Florian Scholze. Rinaldi Racing will field two 488 GT3s: the no. 488 driven by Pierre Ehret, Martin Berry and Jose Manuel Balbiani, and the no. 33 with Steve Parrow, Christian Hook and Manuel Lauck.
Silver Cup. Rinaldi Racing will also compete in the Silver Cup class, with a car for the Russians Rinat Salikhov and Denis Bulatov and the South African David Perel. After a difficult start at Monza, where the German team’s 488 GT3 crossed the line in eighth, they can count on the excellent form of Salikhov and Perel, who took first and third place in the Pro-Am Cup in the Brands Hatch round of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe.
Programme. The programme, for what is the only 1000km of the season, follows a different scheme from that of the other Endurance Cup events. The tests for the ‘Bronze’ drivers will start on Friday at 9 am while all the other drivers have free practice at 1:10 pm. Pre-qualifying begins at 5 pm. The official qualifying session is on Saturday at 10:45 am, while the race – which lasts up to six hours – starts at 6 pm and ideally finishes around midnight.