23 luglio 2016
Nürburg, 23 July 2016 – Qualifying for the 6 Hours of Nürburgring, Round 4 of the World Endurance Championship (WEC), starting tomorrow at 1 p.m., were chaotic and extremely difficult. The wet track and intermittent rain greatly complicated the task of drivers and teams. In GTE-Pro class, by the end of the 20-minute session, the Ferrari 488 GTE number 51 of AF Corse team secured fourth place with James Calado and Gianmaria “Gimmi” Bruni at the wheel, while its sister car, the number 71 of Davide Rigon and Sam Bird, paid for a far-from-ideal choice of tyres and was relegated to seventh place. In GTE-Am class fourth place for the no. 83 AF Corse 458 Italia GTE driven by Emmanuel Collard and François Perrodo who will be joined by Rui Aguas for the race.
GTE-Pro. In GTE-Pro class, James Calado and Davide Rigon started qualifying on cars 51 and 71 respectively. A few drops were still falling and the track was rather wet. James clocked 2’06”477, the second best time at that point. However, shortly after, some cars started coming into the pits for slick tyres as the track was drying quickly. In the meantime, Rigon recorded a time of 2’06”996 later improved to 2’06”371. Bruni came out of the pitlane with wet weather tyres still on, but did not even complete a flying lap and came in for slicks. The Italian driver went off the track immediately after coming out of the pits, but was able to come back on the track. This episode led the crew of car 71 to continue with wet weather tyres with Sam Bird too but this choice turned out to be too conservative. Bruni was fastest overall with a time of 1’58”548, however, there was no time to have Calado in the car again and the combined time was 2’02”512, fourth fastest. Bird was unable to do better than 2’07”120, which brought the combined time of car 71 to 2’06”745: seventh in class. No. 95 Aston Martin of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen took pole position.
GTE-Am. In GTE-Am class, Emmanuel Collard started the qualifying session on the no. 83 AF Corse 458 Italia and clocked 2’09”741. He then passed the controls to his teammate François Perrodo, who was able to stop the clock at 2’11”535. At this point, as the track was drying, the team sent Collard back to the track with slick tyres and he delivered an excellent 2’01”644. The combined time of 2’06”589 brought the car to fourth place in the standings led by no. 88 Porsche of Abu Dhabi Proton Racing team driven by Patrick Long, Khaled Al-Qubaisi, and David Heinemeier-Hansson.