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Ferrari: WEC – Podium Finish at 8 Hours of Bahrain

WEC – First podium of season for Rigon-Molina at 8 Hours of Bahrain

The 8 Hours of Bahrain, the fourth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship held on Saturday at Sakhir, concluded with a podium and a fair few regrets. In the LMGTE Pro class, neither Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina in the 488 GTE no. 71 of AF Corse, nor  Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado’s no. 51, were happy with their respective second and fourth-place finishes. Once again, they deserved better.  After a difficult and unfortunate race, the fourth place of the 488 GTE no. 83 of AF Corse in the LMGTE Am class sufficed to return Perrodo-Nielsen-Collard to the top of the drivers’ standings and the team from Piacenza to first place in the teams’ table.

LMGTE Pro. On a historically good track for Ferrari, the two 488 GTEs enjoyed a brilliant race throughout, thanks in part to a strategy which meant that their tyres were in better condition than those of their rivals. An extra pit stop due to a suspected slow puncture, which came on top of intermittent electronic problems, thwarted any chance of victory for car no. 51. Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado crossed the line in fourth, 25 seconds behind the winners, Thiim-Sørensen in the Aston Martin, and 3.6 seconds behind Martin-Lynn on the third step of the podium. Calado had pulled ahead of his rival in the duel for third position, but the Aston Martin had ‘accompanied’ him off the track during an attack, so the race direction made him relinquish the position. The decision that thirty minutes before the end of the race, forced car no. 71, driven at the time by Molina, to a stop&go while he was attacking the Aston Martin of Sørensen for the race lead, was even more severe. The race direction’s judgement focused on a slight skidding of the rear tyres after the Spaniard’s restart from the final pit-stop. Molina’s lead over his pursuers allowed him to finish the race in second but, even though he and his partner Davide Rigon celebrated their first podium of the season, the Italo-Spanish duo still had a lot of regrets.

LMGTE Am. The fourth-place won by François Perrodo, Nicklas Nielsen and Emmanuel Collard at the end of the 8 Hours of Bahrain, while not meeting the team’s expectations, allows the trio to return to the top of the drivers’ standings in the class and AF Corse to the top of the team rankings. The 488 GTE no. 83 had to make a long stop in the first few hours after the black-orange flag came out due to excessive temperature in the cockpit after an air conditioner malfunctioned. Once the problem was resolved, the winners of the Silverstone race pulled off a magnificent comeback, which they completed with a fourth-place finish ahead of the twin car no. 54 of Fisichella-Flohr-Castellacci. The latter crew had to deal with some spins and contacts in the race but was helped by a solid performance from the Rome-based driver. After a troubled start, the other two Ferraris of MR Racing and Red River Sport, finished seventh and eighth respectively. Ishikawa-Cozzolino-Beretta’s car, in particular, had the worst of it in some of the hectic phases of the race, losing precious time in the pits for repairs.

Next race. The FIA WEC will be back on track on 22 and 23 February for the 6 Hours of COTA, the fifth round of the series.

WEC – Rigon and Molina’s comments after the 8 Hours of Bahrain

The joy of a first podium of the season goes hand in hand with the regret of seeing their push for victory nullified. These mixed feelings are evident in the post-race comments from the two drivers of the 488 GTE no. 71 of AF Corse.

Davide Rigon: “It was a good race, and I believed in victory until the end. In the last hour, some small setbacks stopped us winning. Firstly, we were unable to start the car immediately on the final pit-stop, losing a few seconds that we then recovered. Then in the restart, the slight skidding of the rear tyres was, in my opinion, excessively penalised. The stop&go was harsh because we were faster and with fresher tyres than the Aston Martin that won. We had a perfect strategy, and I want to thank the team for all the pit stops. I’m happy with my performance and also with Miguel’s driving, although right now I don’t know if I’m happier about a podium finally achieved or disappointed over a lost win due to an excessive penalty”.

Miguel Molina: “I think we had a great race, the result of excellent race preparation work. I think we deserved better today, but second place at least testifies to the fact that we are competitive. We were confident that we’d do well on this track and we managed to collect some excellent points after an unlucky first part of the season”.

WEC – Comments from Perrodo and Collard after the 8 Hours of Bahrain

The crew of the 488 GTE of AF Corse returned to the top of the standings after a fourth-place finish in the LMGTE Am class, courtesy of the problems that plagued their title rivals. The comments of François Perrodo and Emmanuel Collard follow below.
François Perrodo: “The race started badly with the air conditioning problem, which created many problems for me during my stint. Nicklas had to stop to repair the air conditioner in the middle of his session after the black-orange flag came out. At that point, victory was compromised because we had lost too much time. However, Nicklas drove well, finishing in fourth position to put us back on top of the standings”.
Emmanuel Collard: “In the end, we are happy with the result given the air conditioning problem that put paid to any chance of winning. The extra stop hurt us, and the FCY was issued at the wrong time for us, so to be back on top of the championship despite a race marked by these negative episodes makes us optimistic about the rest of the season.

WEC – Comments from Pier Guidi and Calado at the end of the 8 Hours of Bahrain

Victory slipped from Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado’s grasp despite their fighting a tenacious and high-level race. The 2017 world champions put in an excellent performance even with an unplanned pit-stop and various minor problems.

Alessandro Pier Guidi: “Unfortunately, it didn’t end as we had hoped and expected. I think both James and I had a good race. We prepared very well on the simulator and improved the car in all sessions, working very well. Unfortunately, we didn’t make the most of a Full Course Yellow and lost more points. Today, victory was within reach, so I am disappointed with a fourth-place finish. We’ll try again in Texas even though it’s a really uphill battle for the championship”.

James Calado: “It was a difficult race, and we can say that we missed out on another victory. We made a mistake during a Full Course Yellow that we could have handled better by changing tyres and driver, but the puncture forced us to make an extra stop and make up one minute on the leaders. We finished the race 25 seconds behind the winner, so I am sure that we did have a chance of victory also despite electrical problems during the race that caused a few gearbox malfunctions.

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