Qualifying for the 6 Hours of Portimão, round two of the FIA World Endurance Championship, ended with top seventh finishes on the grid for the Ferrari 488 GTEs in the first European round of the season. At the end of the 15-minute timed session dedicated to the LMGTE Am class, the best of the Maranello machinery was AF Corse’s no. 21 driven by Diego Alessi, in third, ahead of the other 488 GTE from the same Italian team with Thomas Flohr at the wheel.
Clear skies and air temperatures of over 26°C were the backdrop for the session which saw the Prancing Horse series-derived cars challenging the frontrunners in the class which, according to the regulations, features crews made up of professional and gentlemen drivers.
At the chequered flag, Alessi with a best time of 1’41’’628 (with a gap of 0’’266 from the no. 33 Corvette that started from pole position), ensured the Ferrari shared with Simon Mann and Ulysse de Pauw will start the endurance race from third place on the grid. Meanwhile, occupying fourth spot will be the silver car from the same AF Corse team in the VistaJet livery, thanks to a qualifying lap from Flohr, competing alongside crew-mates Francesco Castellacci and official Ferrari driver Davide Rigon, who had set the fastest time in Free Practice 3, held on Saturday morning.
Grid spot six will be occupied by Richard Mille AF Corse’s no. 83 Ferrari, thanks to the time set by Luís Pérez Companc, a Bronze-licenced driver sharing the world championship experience with two of the Maranello manufacturer’s official drivers, Lilou Wadoux and Alessio Rovera. The French driver produced the second fastest time in the two free practice sessions staged over Friday and Saturday. Seventh was the Kessel Racing-run Ferrari taken on-track by Japanese driver Takeshi Kimura, one of the main protagonists of the qualifying session, alongside Scott Huffaker and Daniel Serra, the latter producing one of the top times recorded in the LMGTE Am class in Friday’s free practice sessions.
For the second time in history, the Portimão track in Portugal will host a race as part of the FIA WEC calendar. The 6 Hours will kick off on Sunday 16 April at 12 p.m. (local time).