Perrodo, Collard and Nielsen triumph in 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
The LMGTE Am class leaders, Perrodo, Collard and Nielsen, recorded an extraordinary triumph at the wheel of the 488 GTE of AF Corse in the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the sixth round of FIA WEC Season 8. The trio executed a perfect performance in a race complicated by the weather. In the LMGTE Pro class, the Ferraris put in a great performance in the first four hours, when rain and the alternation between dry and wet allowed the drivers to compensate for the pace limit due to Balance of Performance. Pier Guidi executed some brilliant passes to take the race lead. When the track finally dried out, car no. 51 almost claimed a place on the podium, while car no. 71 completed the six hours in sixth position.
LMGTE Pro. Starting behind the Safety Car due to the poor conditions, Alessandro Pier Guidi got off to an extraordinary start in the 488 GTE no. 51, taking the lead by making the most of a wet track that offset the power gap due to the Balance of Performance. The Italian drove a very long four-and-a-quarter-hour stint handling the car superbly in the wet and limiting the gap when the asphalt dried out. The pit wall also chose a daring race strategy, changing to slicks with the track not yet perfectly dry. Calado, who took over from his teammate on lap 94, crossed the finish line in fourth place. He skilfully held off Giammaria Bruni’s attacks and almost reached the podium when, with five minutes remaining, Maxime Martin’s Aston Martin needed to do a splash and go. However, the British car’s superior power prevented the world champion from attacking.
Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina followed a more linear strategy, with the Spaniard driving the no. 71 in the middle stages of the race. The chances of a podium finish disappeared when the car was forced to make a splash and go during the Safety Car. The crew crossed the finish line in sixth. Christensen-Estre won the race in a Porsche.
LMGTE Am. The 488 GTE no. 83 of AF Corse claimed the win courtesy of a top performance by championship leaders François Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Ferrari Competizioni GT official driver Nicklas Nielsen. After a complicated qualifying session, the trio enjoyed a perfect race, securing the best possible result. Perrodo started the race in terrible conditions before handing over to Collard who drove the car with slicks with the track still wet. In the final stages, Nielsen’s intense triple stint gave the trio their second victory of the season after the opening race at Silverstone. AF Corse’s second car, the no. 54 crewed by Fisichella-Flohr-Castellacci took seventh place, with Fisichella showing his class behind the wheel and making up many positions in the standings. Eighth place went to the third Ferrari at the start, the Red River Sport entry crewed by Grimes, Mowlem and Hollings. The British trio enjoyed a steady race, with excellent times confirming their continually improving competitiveness.
Next round. The FIA World Endurance Championship leaves Belgium to start preparing for the most anticipated race of the year, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which will take place behind closed doors on 19-20 September.