The 3 Hours of Nürburgring finished with a twelfth place in the Pro class for the Ferrari 296 GT3 number 71 of AF Corse – Francorchamps Motors, driven to the chequered flag by Daniel Serra. The Brazilian finished two places ahead of his team’s other car, the number 51, with Alessio Rovera at the wheel in the final stint. Round four of the GT World Challenge Europe – Endurance Cup also saw an 11th-place finish for AF Corse’s 296 GT3 in the Bronze class and the second podium of the season for ST Racing with Rinaldi in the Pro-Am.
The German round took place on a dry track, with air temperatures of 18°C and asphalt around 20°C. The BoP update decided by the organisers after the morning’s qualifying, which saw a 10-kilogram weight reduction for the 296 GT3s, didn’t suffice to close the performance gap between the Prancing Horse cars and their rivals already seen in previous races. The differences in absolute speed, acceleration and cornering prevented them from fighting for the top positions.
Pro Class. The Dane Nicklas Nielsen enjoyed an excellent start from 13th place in the 296 GT3 number 51, but at turn 1, someone clipped him, costing precious seconds and positions. Davide Rigon, 21st on the grid in the Ferrari number 71, stood out with an excellent first split, staying firmly in the top-15.
Antonio Fuoco took over from his fellow Italian at the first pit stop, while Robert Shwartzman replaced Nielsen. Over the next hour, Fuoco made the most of his 296 GT3, which he handed over to Serra at the next stop with 50 minutes still to go. Crew number 51 followed the same strategy, designed to lengthen the stint to avoid pit-lane traffic.
After completing 92 laps, the Brazilian driver passed under the chequered flag 12th in his class (14th overall), 1’21”675 behind the victorious Mercedes number 88. Rovera was 14th (22nd overall) at the wheel of the ‘twin’ car.
Other classes. On its Endurance Cup debut, AF Corse’s Ferrari 296 GT3 number 52 was 11th in the Bronze class and 36th overall. The first two phases saw Jef and Louis Machiels at the wheel, while Andrea Bertolini took over in the last hour. The experienced Prancing Horse official driver consolidated a position at the bottom of the points zone in the professional and gentlemen driver’s category.
In the Pro-Am, ST Racing with Rinaldi claimed third place with Isaac Tutumlu, Samantha Tan and Jon Miller in the 296 GT3 number 38. This was the crew’s second podium finish after the Paul Ricard 1000 kilometres, the last time they competed in the 488 GT3 Evo 2020.
The calendar. The next GT World Challenge Europe – Endurance Cup round is on 1 October in Barcelona.