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    Ferrari fifth in LMGTE Am at Le Mans

    Ferrari GTE

    Le Mans 11 giugno 2023

    It was AF Corse’s number 54 488 GTE that claimed the best finish of the seven Ferrari entries in the LMGTE Am class at the Centenary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, round four of the 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship. At the Circuit de la Sarthe, which also celebrated the extraordinary triumph of Prancing Horse’s 499P in the Hypercar class, the car crewed by Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellacci and Davide Rigon put in a convincing, consistent performance throughout the entire iconic French race, finishing in fifth place in the class with the official driver at the wheel.

    The other Maranello machines finished further back, with the Walkenhorst Motorsport team’s number 100 posting a buoyant eighth place, with American drivers Chandler Hull and Jeffrey Segal and Indonesian Andrew Haryanto, and ninth place for Kessel Racing’s number 74, driven by Kei Cozzolino, Yorikatsu Tsujiko and Naoki Yokomizo, both entered solely for the Le Mans event.

    The second number 57 Kessel Racing car, featuring Takeshi Kimura, Scott Huffaker and official driver Daniel Serra came to a premature end. In an attempt to claw back positions, the car ran into a barrier, forcing the team to withdraw three hours ahead of schedule.

    Equally unlucky was the performance of JMW Motorsport’s 488 GTE, with Louis Prette, Giacomo Petrobelli and Thomas Neubauer, forced to abandon contention after nightfall at Le Mans, following the earlier withdrawal of AF Corse’s number 21, crewed by Simon Mann, Julien Piguet and Ulysse De Pauw. Another retiree was the Richard Mille AF Corse-run number 83 - which had registered the highest speed thanks to official driver Alessio Rovera who had started from fifth on the grid – which came a cropper during the stint of Luis Perez Companc when certain stretches of the 13.626-kilometre Circuit de La Sarthe were hit by a sudden, violent thunderstorm just a few hours into the race. The third representative of the Piacenza-based team, Frenchwoman Lilou Wadoux, lost control of her car and crashed out in a flooded section of the track, fortunately without injury.

    Davide Rigon#54 AF Corse: “The race had started well, showing we could do great things with the car and also with the team strategy. I drove a lot and was also in the lead for long stretches and that is something really thrilling here at Le Mans. Then as time went by, we realised that we were lacking something compared to the others due to BoP issues and we couldn’t keep hold of the lead. Driving this car is always really nice and gives me great satisfaction. Anyway, we are happy with the result; they are also important points towards the standings and that’s good. I wish to pay my compliments to Pier Guidi, Calado and Giovinazzi and to Hypercar. They are all friends and what they managed to do today is something historic for Ferrari and for motorsport.”

    Daniel Serra, 488 GTE #74 Kessel Racing: “It was a great race. We followed an excellent strategy and were even in the lead for several hours. But unfortunately, during my stint, at the Indianapolis corner, I experienced a tyre problem, went off the track and was forced to retire. This is racing, and you have to accept it. It can happen. Now we must look to the future and think about the next race.”

    Alessio Rovera, 488 GTE #83 AF Corse: “Le Mans was a shame, the team was disappointed, but unfortunately there are some incidents you can’t do anything about and that’s what races are like. We did well in practice, but it’s difficult to make an overall assessment, partly because the race didn’t last long enough for us. We’ll take it race by race now in the FIA World Endurance Championship, but we’ve already put it behind us because we’re resuming with a trio of races in three different championships, all highly competitive. There are still lots of events ahead of me this season and it will be really exciting being able to resume in IMSA and at Watkins Glen.”