The Ferrari 296 GT3 of AF Corse – Francorchamps Motors crewed by Nicklas Nielsen, Alessio Rovera and Robert Shwartzman, will start from top spot in the final round of the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup. The number 71 car of Fuoco-Serra-Rigon finished third, and the 296 GT3 of ST Racing with Rinaldi took first place in the Pro-Am class in a very positive qualifying session for the Maranello cars.
Pro. The first and second places Alessio Rovera and Antonio Fuoco secured in the first of the session’s three rounds set the scene for an immensely encouraging 45 minutes for the Prancing Horse crews. The man from Varese stopped the clock at 1’39”297 while his teammate had to settle for a 1’39”320 after a rival compromised his performance in the third sector. Traffic also constrained the best performance of Shwartzman who, despite a reduced gap to the front runner, finished the second qualifying block eleventh, a little behind Daniel Serra who, because of a small mistake in his attempt, clocked a 1’39”896, which yielded ninth place. The outcome of qualifying, which combines the times recorded by the three drivers, was decided in the last 15 minutes, with Nicklas Nielsen in the 51 and Davide Rigon in the 71. The Dane posted the fastest overall time, 1’39”103, thanks to a near-perfect lap, securing pole position for the race starting at 3 p.m. local time. However, the Italian driver’s qualifying session was trickier. After seeing his best time cancelled because for exceeding the track limit on turn 3, he had to squeeze the most out of his 296 GT3 with tyres that had passed their performance peak and also had to deal with traffic. Despite this, the number 71 crew held onto third place on the grid, 0”307 behind their teammates.
Pro-Am. The ST Racing with Rinaldi trio of Isaac Tutumlu, Samantha Tan and Lorcan Hanafin will also set off from pole. Their 1’41”153 in qualifying earned them the 38th position on the grid, but first in their class.
Silver and Bronze. The 296 GT3 of AF Corse with Manny Franco, Cedric Sbirrazzuoli and Lilou Wadoux, the latter in her first race in Maranello’s new GT3, came sixth in the Silver Cup, 36th overall. The young official driver was among the fastest despite a lap hampered by traffic. The race will also offer important racing miles ahead of the 8 Hours of Indianapolis where Wadoux and Franco will be joined by Alessandro Balzan. The number 52 crew of Louis and Jef Machiels, supported by Andrea Bertolini, finished ninth in the Bronze class. The trio will seek an excellent result in a very competitive and hard-fought class.