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Ferrari: WEC – Triumph in the LMGTE Am class at 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps

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.

WEC – Post-race comments of LMGTE Am class winners at 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps

A second win of the season for François Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and the official Ferrari Competizioni GT driver Nicklas Nielsen came courtesy of a masterful performance by all the three drivers. A perfect outing saw the trio put in some very effective stints even in the most challenging conditions. Perrodo drove the 488 GTE no. 83 in the early stages, when a real cloudburst battered the track. He then left the car to Collard who, in turn, at times drove with slicks on a wet track. Then finally came Nicklas Nielsen’s incredible triple stint.

François Perrodo: “I am delighted with my performance today, in particular, because after qualifying we thought we weren’t that competitive given the Porsches’ leap forward. Since victory seemed out of reach, we aimed to collect as many points as possible and really go for it at Le Mans. The race wasn’t as crazy as last year, but the typical Spa weather made it very spectacular. It was a difficult start, but I was the first of the non-Porsche drivers. Then I handed the wheel to Emmanuel who did a great job. Finally, Nicklas was incredible with a stunning triple stint. I’m over the moon”.

Emmanuel Collard: “The championship is long, so you have to be consistent and finish every race. This is what we’ve been trying to do since the start of the season. When we’ve had a chance to win, we’ve tried to, and when we couldn’t, we’ve tried to collect as many points as possible. This means that we can celebrate victory at Spa today”.

Nicklas Nielsen: “Today’s result is fantastic. This was certainly the best race of my life, with a triple stint of over three hours. We weren’t the favourites before we started the race, but the team did a fantastic job, and the strategy was perfect. I thank François and Emmanuel. I’m really excited after this win, and it’s fantastic to have achieved it after such a difficult race, I couldn’t be happier than I am right now”.

WEC – Car no. 51 drivers’ comments after 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps

The fourth-place finish for the 488 GTE no. 51 of AF Corse was the most that the 2017 World Champion duo could have hoped for due to Balance of Performance. However, a brilliant performance by Alessandro Pier Guidi gave them the race lead in the very tricky conditions of the first four hours of the race. When the track finally dried out, brilliance was not enough. The pair finished fourth, coming close to the podium when, five minutes from the end, Maxime Martin’s Aston Martin had to do a splash and go.

Alessandro Pier Guidi: “The race was like a series of ups and downs. We were fast in the wet while in the dry we had the pace limit due to Balance of Performance that was already evident in qualifying. I think it’s clear that we need ‘Race ability’ and I hope that, like it’s been granted to Porsche, it will be granted to us too. In these conditions, this result is the best we could aspire to even though we tried to make the most of all our potential”.

James Calado: “The car wasn’t fast and didn’t perform like the other cars in the dry while in the wet the car was balanced. With a dry track, the Balance of Performance makes things extremely complicated, and there’s no way we can compete. To sum up: in the rain, we were fast, in the dry we were slow. It was a shame we couldn’t pass the Aston Martin but today’s fourth place was the best we could have hoped for”.

WEC – Post-race comments of crew of car no. 71

Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina’s sixth-place finish in the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps fell far short of their goal, especially after their excellent performance in qualifying on Friday. It was a difficult race where the lack of grip and power determined the final result.

Davide Rigon: “The race was rather disappointing from the start. I had no grip, and maybe the tyre choice was wrong, although my teammates were in the same conditions. Overall, I’d say that we lacked downforce, as well as engine power. I was slow in the central sector even though we could keep up with the others in the wet. With the track dry the car seemed to work better, but we just didn’t have the speed of our rivals. I demanded everything from the car, the tyres and myself, but it wasn’t enough. Now we will have to work out what our car needs to try and win at Le Mans. I think we deserve it”.

Miguel Molina: “The race was also difficult mentally because the track conditions changed several times, and driving on wets in the dry wasn’t easy. I think the car didn’t perform well in the dry today and we couldn’t find the pace we had yesterday in qualifying. In my first stint, I drove the 488 GTE in the rain for the first time, and I can be satisfied with how it went. Now we have to reset and think about the most anticipated race of the year, Le Mans, hoping for a review of the BoP”.

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