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    World Endurance Championship - Rigon and Bird third at Spa-Francorchamps

    05 maggio 2018

    Francorchamps, 5 May 2018 – As expected the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the first round of the Super Season of the World Endurance Championship (WEC), was a difficult and frustrating race for the Ferrari, which had to chase their rivals right from qualifying. In the race, the Maranello brand crews had to focus almost exclusively on holding what they had, unable to attack because of the of the BOP configuration set for the 488 GTE in 2018. In the end, the difficulties of Porsche no. 91 allowed Bird and Rigon to snatch a well-deserved podium. It was a day to forget for car no. 51, involved in a pitlane accident. It was also an uphill struggle for the cars in the GTE-Am class. Here too, some satisfaction could be drawn from the podium secured by the 488 GTE of Clearwater Racing.   GTE-Pro. In GTE-Pro class, Alessandro Pier Guidi in car no. 51 and Davide Rigon in no. 71 managed to keep their starting position, holding off the other cars in the straight despite the low top speed set by the BoP. Pier Guidi closed in on Antonio Felix Da Costa's BMW but had to wait for his tyres to degrade to pass him after about 40 minutes. The race was then neutralised following the accident at Eau Rouge involving Ford no. 67. At the restart its sister car, the no. 66, and the two Porsches took advantage, while Pier Guidi managed to keep fourth place. However, Rigon was impeded by a lapped car and ended up being overtaken by Felix Da Costa and one of the Aston Martins. The Ferraris once again managed, at the end of the stint, to overtake the rivals. Toward the end of third stint, at the third hour of the race, the Ferrari cars were able to catch and pass Porsche no. 92 driven by Kevin Estre and Michael Christiensen. However, with new tyres, the Porsche quickly regained third place. Estre was also penalised with a stop&go for spinning the wheels at the pitstop but once again the German car fought back easily to overtake the Ferrari after four hours and 10 minutes of racing. Shortly after, an accident in the pit lane with the car of Team Project 1 irreversibly compromised the race for Pier Guidi and Calado who lost several laps for repairs and could only finish ninth. At the end of the race there was another neutralisation that brought car no. 71 back into the fight for the podium, with Davide Rigon overtaking the Porsche 91 of Bruni-Lietz, which was clearly suffering a tyre crisis. Davide sealed his podium by the skin of his teeth with a great pass on the final benda t the penultimate lap. The Ford of Pla-Johnson-Mücke won the race. The overall victory went to the Toyota of Alonso-Nakajima-Buemi.   GTE-Am. The GTE-Am class saw the Ferrari cars stage a great comeback. Having started right at the back of the pack, all the 488 GTEs managed to gain ground. Matt Griffin, Weng Sun Mok and Keita Sawa stood out for Clearwater Racing as they fought back to third behind the Aston Martins driven by Dalla Lana-Lamy-Lauda and Yoluc-Alers-Hankey-Eastwood. The rookies of MR Racing secured a good fifth place, with Motoaki Ishikawa, Eddie Cheever III and Olivier Beretta. The Spirit of Race team also did well but paid a high price with a stop&go for speeding in the pitlane. Thomas Flohr, Giancarlo Fisichella and Francesco Castellacci finished eighth. The next round is the Le Mans 24 Hours on 16 and 17 June.