16 aprile 2016
Silverstone, 16 April – Two sides qualifying for the new 488 GTE which captured the pole position in its début race with Sam Bird and Davide Rigon on AF Corse car No. 71, while crew number 51 of Gianmaria “Gimmi” Bruni and James Calado will start from the back of the grid due to a technical problem. Difficult session for the 458 Italia number 83 of AF Corse, competing in the GTE-Am class, which qualified in fifth place. It should be noted that driving rain and even snow falling on the track characterised the morning free practice, skipped by almost all racers.
GTE-Pro. In GTE-Pro class, James Calado and Davide Rigon, who last year were teammates on the 458 Italia number 71, took the first shift on cars 51 and 71 respectively. James clocked 2’11”764 in the first lap and then lowered the time to 2’11”589 on the following lap. Davide started out more cautiously, at 2’12”991, but chipped away over a second on the next lap: 2’11”900. The two cars then came into the box to change drivers: Bruni took the controls of the 488 GTE number 51, while Rigon passed the wheel to Bird. The English driver, in his first race on wet surface with a GT car, clocked 2’12”981 and was unable to improve on it. However the resulting overall time of 2’12”440 was enough for first place. On the other side of the garage “Gimmi” on car number 51, experienced a technical problem, which is yet to be analysed, but which led the team to call the car back to the box as a precaution. As Bruni did not record a qualifying time, car number 51 will start from the back of the grid.
GTE-Am. In GTE-Am class, the 458 Italia of AF Corse team driven by Emmanuel Collard, François Perrodo and Rui Aguas (the only Ferrari in the field) did not have an easy session. Collard went off the wet track immediately at turn number 4 and had to go back to the box to have the car checked. Later the crew was found to have exceeded the speed limit in the pit lane and its final overall time was therefore set at 2’20”131, which put the car in fifth place on the grid. The 6 Hours of Silverstone, first race of the World Endurance Championship (WEC), will start at 12 local time (1 p.m. CET).