The Iron Lynx Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020s pulled off an extraordinary one-two in the 1000 km of Paul Ricard, the second round of the Endurance Cup of the GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS. The victory of Antonio Fuoco, Davide Rigon and Daniel Serra, and the second place for Miguel Molina, James Calado and Nicklas Nielsen, were complemented by podiums in the Gold Cup and the Pro-Am class for the Iron Dames and AF Corse, making it a weekend to remember. The winners also took the lead in the standings.
Pro. In a race featuring three Safety Cars and two Full Course Yellows, the last of which just over 15 minutes from the end, the number 71 Iron Lynx Ferrari, which started from pole with Daniel Serra, took the lead at the midpoint with Davide Rigon at the wheel. The Italian driver extended his advantage to around ten seconds before passing the baton to Antonio Fuoco, who, in his double stint, managed and increased the margin over his rivals before crossing the finish line in first place at the six-hour mark. The victory was down to perfect management of race pace, Pirelli tyres and track traffic at every stage of a race that featured plenty of twists and turns.
The number 51 488 GT3 Evo 2020, second under the chequered flag, spent the race among the leaders after Nicklas Nielsen’s excellent recovery in the early hours. James Calado followed the Dane in the hot seat. The Briton lost a few seconds due to a slow puncture just as he was approaching his second stop and was about to attack the podium positions. He spun but did well to avoid contact with the barriers and limit the time lost. Miguel Molina, who took over from Calado, recovered a couple of positions to move into third place. At the end, taking advantage of the group recompacting due to the last Safety Car, the Spaniard attacked Gounon and took the second step of the podium.
Gold Cup. Sarah Bovy, Rahel Frey and Michelle Gatting took their first podium of the season, the best possible payback for the disappointment of their Imola retirement. The Iron Dames crew claimed a splendid second place despite a 25-second penalty and having also battled for the race lead. In contrast, AF Corse's 488 GT3 Evo 2020 completed an excellent comeback with a fifth-place finish for Alessandro Balzan, Cedric Sbirrazzuoli and Hugo Delacour.
Pro-Am. The Ferrari of Andrea Bertolini, Louis Machiels and Stefano Costantini secured third place but with some regrets, penalised by a drive-through that deprived them of a potential victory after leading the race for a few stages. However, the result provides valuable points for the standings.
Standings. With extra points at stake in this race, Antonio Fuoco, Davide Rigon and Daniel Serra take the lead in the standings with 38 points, while teammates James Calado, Nicklas Nielsen and Miguel Molina follow in third place on 30. In the Gold Cup, Balzan-Sbirrazzuoli-Delacour are third with 30 points and Bovy-Gatting-Frey fourth with 24. In the Pro-Am class, Bertolini-Machiels-Costantini are third on 38 points.
The next round of the Endurance Cup will be the eagerly awaited 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps from 28 to 31 July. However, the GT World Challenge Europe drivers have two Sprint Cup races at Zandvoort and Misano before the Belgian classic.