17 luglio 2016
Spielberg, 17 July 2016 - The SMP Racing Ferrari 488 of Aleksey Basov and Viktor Shaytar took a lights to flag victory at Spielberg and score their second victory in the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup. The Russians finished ahead of the no. 88 Mentos Racing Porsche of Egidio Perfetti and Klaus Bachler, who had to fend off the challenge from the no. 34 TF Sport Aston Martin of Salih Yoluc and Euan Hankey for the entire race.
Chaotic start. The race started in dramatic fashion at the first corner. Basov’s no72 SMP Racing Ferrari led the field into the turn with Perfetti right behind and the no. 55 McLaren of Hiroshi Hamaguchi. The Porsche was touched from behind by one of the Ferraris, which in turn pushed the Porsche into the McLaren. Hamaguchi spun around and was clipped by Johnny Mowlem’s FF Corse Ferrari and then hit by the no. 26 Classic&Modern Racing Ferrari of Nicolas Misslin. The Safety Car was deployed and Misslin returned to the pits into retirement while Mowlem was able to rejoin the fray without losing a lap thanks to the Safety Car.
Controlling rivals. The race resumed with the SMP Racing Ferrari ahead of Yoluc’s Aston Martin and Perfetti’s Porsche that was soon challenging the Aston Martin for second place allowing the leading Ferrari to pull away as the two battled for position. Yoluc fended off the challenge for several laps but eventually Perfetti got alongside the Turkish driver to force his way into second place. In the group Johnny Mowlem in the FF Corse Ferrari was able to make up lost ground and had the chance to pass the no. 51 AF Corse Ferrari of Thomas Flohr for fourth place. Mowlem briefly led the race as the three cars ahead went in for their pitstops and one lap later the English driver pitted to hand over to Ivor Dunbar.
Last minute thrill. After the pitstops the no. 72 SMP Racing Ferrari of Victor Shaytar held the lead. Shaytar looked on course to take an easy victory but with 15 minutes left on the clock the Russian was seen skipping across the gravel trap at Turn 2 after the 488 failed to turn into the corner as Shaytar applied the brakes. The SMP Ferrari regained the track quite quickly and still in the lead but with a reduced gap of 3.5 seconds to the chasing duo of Bachler and Hankey. If there was anything wrong with the no72 Ferrari the thought was dispelled as Shaytar set the fastest lap of the race with one minute remaining on the clock.