06 novembre 2016
Shanghai, 6 November 2016 – The AF Corse team Ferrari 488 GTE won third and fifth place in the 6 Hours of Shanghai, the penultimate round of the World Endurance Championship (WEC). The 25 points scored today allowed the Prancing Horse brand to extend the lead over Aston Martin to 10 points in the Constructors’ classification, while in the GTE-Am class, the podium finish achieved by the AF Corse number 83 458 Italia brings François Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Rui Aguas even closer to the title, which they will take home in Bahrain simply by finishing the race.
GTE-Pro. The only unexpected turn of events was seen right at the start, when the Manor team’s Oreca driven by Mathias Beche ended up spinning right round, ploughing into the number 97 Aston Martin driven by Richie Stanaway. Gianmaria “Gimmi” Bruni had already gone past when the prototype ended up against the GT cars, thanks to the great start made by the driver of car 51 speeding ahead of the Ford 66. However, the no. 71 488 GTE did not fare so well. Davide Rigon managed to avoid the accident but clipped a piece of debris which punctured his left rear tyre, forcing him to take two pit stops in just three laps. Accordingly, he and his team-mate Sam Bird were forced to play catch-up for the rest of the race. Bruni, meanwhile, was easily overtaken by the Ford for second as, just like in Fuji, the 66 and 67 cars were simply uncatchable. At the end of the first stint with James Calado behind the wheel, Aston Martin managed to stop a lap early, ending up in third. It was then down to Bruni to put things back in order, with a masterful overtake which began at turn 1 and was completed at turn 2. Shortly after, the Ford 66 pulled into the pits with a puncture, setting off again in fourth. It was only a matter of time, however, before Oliver Pla and Stefan Mücke cruised back into second. Further back, Rigon and Bird had to overtake all of the GTE-Am class cars, with the sole intention of taking the fifth place held by the no. 77 Porsche. Halfway through the race, Rigon succeeded in overtaking the car just before the pit stop, but for once, Porsche proved faster in the pits, and Bird was left to start from scratch. The Englishman overtook Christensen on turn 1, but had to serve a drive-through penalty just after, for a pitstop infringement. During the last stint, it was then up to Rigon to overtake Lietz in the 77 for the third time, even if the positions change took place in the pits. For Ford, it was the second one-two in a row, with Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell’s 67 ahead of the 66, the Ferrari 51 and the Aston 95.
GTE-Am. In the GTE-Am class, François Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Rui Aguas succeeded in securing a precious third place, propelling them just one step away from the class title. Indeed, the three boast a 22-point lead over the day’s winners, Lamy-Lauda-Dalla Lana, and for the number 83 Ferrari 458 Italia entered by AF Corse, just finishing the race in Bahrain will be enough to win them the title, regardless of the result achieved by their Aston Martina rivals, who, to be in with any chance of a turnaround, will also have to win the race in Sakhir, scheduled for 19 November.