30 luglio 2017
Francorchamps, 30 July 2017 – Ferrari took first and second in the Am Cup class of the 24 Hours of Spa with victory for Kessel Racing's 488 GT3 no. 888, crewed by Jacques Duyver, Marco Zanuttini, David Perel and Niki Cadei. The twin car of Rinaldi Racing followed in second with Pierre Ehret, Rino Mastronardi, Patrick Van Glabecke and Gabriele Lancieri. The Prancing Horse also finished third in the Pro-Am class with the Spirit Of Race 488 GT3, driven by Toni Vilander, Alex Demirdjian, Davide Rizzo and Nicolas Minassian. However, there was disappointment in the Pro class where the Ferrari of Kaspersky Motorsport was forced out by an accident when it was in the mix for victory.
Am Cup. There was never any doubt that the Ferrari 488 GT3 was the car to beat in the Am Cup. The cars of Kessel and Rinaldi Racing teams had dominated the scene since qualifying. Duyver, Zanuttini, Perel and Cadei held onto their first position for most of the race, only relinquishing it from time to time to the German team's car, especially during pit stops. After dawn Rino Mastronardi tried to launch an attack on his fellow Ferrari drivers but a puncture first and then other tyre problems forced him and his crewmates to settle for second place.
Pro. The Pro class left a bitter taste in the mouth. In the early hours of the race, AF Corse no. 50 bowed out after an accident at Eau Rouge from which Pasin Lathouras emerged unscathed. Then around the three-hour mark a hydraulic power steering pump problem knocked the 488 GT3 of Team SMP Racing out of the running for a podium finish. In contrast, Kaspersky Motorsport car no. 55 was always in the mix notching up more laps in the lead than any other crew from the start to dawn. Giancarlo Fisichella, Marco Cioci and James Calado showed they were capable of winning, even building up a 30-second lead over their opponents, only for it to be rubbed out by a Safety Car. During the night Fisichella had been one of the few capable of driving with slick tyres in the wet, gaining many seconds on his rivals. However, the car was involved in an accident shortly before 7 am, when Marco Cioci was recovering after a mandatory pit stop to change the brakes. While Cioci was unlapping himself, he was struck by the leading car, the Mercedes no. 90 driven by Raffaele Marciello, breaking one of the steering arms, which caused him to veer off track at Eau Rouge. This was the end of the race for the Kaspersky Motorsport car. Davide Rigon, Miguel Molina and Victor Shaytar finished in 24th, with the overall win going to the Audi of Sainteloc Racing, with Christopher Haase, Jules Gounon and Markus Winkelhock.
Pro-Am Cup. In the Pro-Am Cup, Ferrari picked up a podium and a good fourth place. Alex Demirdjian, Toni Vilander, Davide Rizzo and Nicolas Minassian put in a great overnight performance to climb from sixth to third, which they would never have relinquished had it not been for the pit stops, when the position went to the crew of the AF Corse 488 GT3 driven by Olivier Beretta, Motoaki Ishikawa, Francesco Castellacci and Lorenzo Bontempelli, who ended up fourth under the chequered flag. The class victory went to the Mercedes of Black Falcon, crewed by Oliver Morley, Miguel Toril, Marvin Kirchhofer and Maximilian Gotz. The Blancpain Endurance Cup will conclude on 1 October in Barcelona.