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Blancpain GT Endurance Cup Silverstone ... Win for Ferrari 488 GT3, Miguel Molina, Mikhail Aleshin, Davide Rigon


#72   Miguel Molina, Mikhail Aleshin, Davide Rigon  SMP Racing  Ferrari 488 GT3 s_n 4440

#72 Miguel Molina, Mikhail Aleshin, Davide Rigon SMP Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 s_n 4440

 

Silverstone, 12 May, 2019

A week after the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe meeting at Brands Hatch the teams were at the Silverstone circuit, where there was a strong 48 car entry for the Blancpain Endurance Cup race on Sunday 12 May. They comprised of a number of the cars that had appeared at Brands Hatch, plus numerous others that were only participating in the Endurance Cup series.  The support programme comprised of rounds of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe series, together with rounds of the Formula Renault Eurocup single seater series, whilst there were also “hot laps” and a supercar display in the paddock.

The qualifying session took place on the Sunday morning, split into three segments of 15mins each, one for each nominated driver, with the qualifying time being an aggregate of the three best times posted. The net result saw the #63 GRT Grasser Racing Lamborghini Huracan of Bortolotti / Engelhart / Ineichen take pole position, by just 0.196sec, from the #55 Silver Class Audi R8 LMS entered by Attempto Racing and driven by Schothorst S. / Schothorst P. / Drudi. The qualifying times showed the competitiveness of the diverse range of entries, as the top twelve qualifiers were only covered by 1.052secs, and covered five different marques, comprising of Audi, Bentley, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Mercedes-AMG. As noted the quickest Silver class entry was 2nd fastest overall, whilst the Pro—Am class pole was taken by the #97 Aston Martin Vantage AMR entered by Oman Racing with TF Sport, driven by Yoluc / Al Harthy/Eastwood. In the AM class it was the Barwell Motorsport entered #77 Lamborghini Huracan of Amstutz / Machitski / Ramos that took the qualifying honours. The first qualifying session had been upset by two red flags, which meant that some drivers didn’t set a time, which in turn meant that the aggregate times put these cars out of what should have been there normal qualifying positions. 

When the lights went out, the pole sitting #63 Lamborghini led the field away followed by the similar #519 and #563 examples, which both jumped the second place on the grid #55 Audi on the run to the first turn. Everybody crowded their way through the first few corners, but then the #5 Audi was tapped into the #22 Honda Acura NSX, spinning into the middle of the track, where amazingly everybody managed to take avoiding action. However, almost immediately the #26 Audi sun with a puncture going through Chapel Curve, with the following cars having to take further avoiding action, which triggered a collision that eliminated the #488 Ferrari after it cannoned into the Audi and the barrier, whilst the Audi was sent across the track collecting both the #59 Aston Martin and the #88 Mercedes-AMG, all ending their race on the spot. The Audi was left stranded in the middle of the track, and the safety car was deployed while the marshals cleared the carnage, which took some 20mins. When the track went green again it was status quo at the head of the field for a few laps, until the #563 and #519 Lamborghinis swapped places and the #107 Bentley also made up a place to run 4th, then the leading #63 Lamborghini suffered a puncture, which ruined its race and handed the lead to the #563 example before the first round of pit stops. 

The order was mixed up further at around the time that they started making the first stop, as there was a further safety car period to recover a stranded car, so the later stoppers gained an advantage by being able to pit during this period. The net result was that the #519 Lamborghini took the lead, with the #2 Audi moving up to 2nd and the #72 SMP Racing Ferrari moved into 3rd place, which soon became 2nd, which it held for a while until the #563 Lamborghini fought its way back up the order. The #563 Lamborghini lost out again in the final round of pit stops, dropping to 5th, leaving the final hour as a straight fight between the sister #519 Orange 1 FFF Racing entered example and the #72 SMP Ferrari. The #563 Lamborghini’s race went from bad to worse as it was eliminated after a collision with the #43 Mercedes-AMG. 

Going into the closing stages of the race the Ferrari was looking for every which way around the Lamborghini, and with a little over 15mins remaining Davide Rigon in the Ferrari muscled his way past the Lamborghini now driven by Giovanni Venturini, to go on and take the race win. This was the first Ferrari win in a Blancpain endurance race in more than six years, so understandably the team were more than ecstatic. Further joy came to the Ferrari camp in the Pro-Am class, with the #52 AF Corse entry driven by Hommerson / Machiels / Bertolini being awarded the class win, after the car that had won it on the road, the #74 Ram Racing Mercedes-AMG was given a 30secs time penalty for causing an avoidable collision earlier in the race. This was some consolation for Machiels / Bertolini after their double retirement at Brands Hatch the previous week, and in fact they had to use a replacement car for this race as the damage to the car at Brands Hatch hadn’t yet been repaired.

 

Overall Podium

1st – #72, SMP Racing, Ferrari 488 GT3, Miguel Molina, Mikhail Aleshin, Davide Rigon
2nd – #519, Orange 1 FFF Racing Team, Lamborghini Huracan GT3, Phil Keen, Giovanni Venturini,  Perrera
3rd - #2, Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, Audi R8 LMS GT3, Dries Vanthoor, Ezequiel Perez Companc, Alex Riberas


Silver Cup

1st – #19, GRT Grasser Racing Team, Lamborghini Huracan GT3, Arno Santamato, Gerhard Tweraser, Lucas Mauron
2nd – #55, Attempto Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3, Steijn Schothorst, Pieter Schothorst, Mattia Drudi
3rd – #90, AKKA ASP Team, Mercedes-AMG GT3, Nico Bastian, Timur Boguslavskiy, Felipe Fraga


PAM Class

1st – #52, AF Corse, Ferrari 488 GT3, Niek Hommerson, Louis Machiels, Andrea Bertolini
2nd – #97, Oman Racing with TF Sport, Salih Yoluc, Ahmad Al Harthy, Charlie Eastwood
3rd – #74, Ram Racing, Mercedes-AMG GT3, Remon Vos, Tom Onslow-Cole

AM class

1st - #77, Barwell Motorsport, Lamborghini Huracan GT3, Adrian Amstutz, Leo Machitski, Miguel Ramos
2nd - #23, Tech 1 Racing, Lexus RCF GT3, Fabien Barthez, Bernard Delhez
3rd - #188, Garage 59, Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3, Alexander West, Chris Harris, Chris Goodwin

 

Ferrari Entry

Race #

Model

Chassis #

Team

Drivers

Position

Class Pro

O/A

Cl.

72

488 GT3

4440

SMP Racing

M. Molina /
M. Aleshin /
D. Rigon

1st

1st

Class PRO-AM Cup

 

 

52

488 GT3

4418

AF Corse

N. Hommerson /
L. Machiels /
A. Bertolini

22nd

1st

93

488 GT3

4462

Tempesta Racing

C. Buncombe /
J. Hui /
C. Froggatt

27th

4th

Class Silver Cup

 

 

333

488 GT3

4470

Rinaldi Racing

R. Salikhov /
D. Bulatov /
D. Perel

13th

4th

Class AM Cup

 

 

444

488 GT3

4434

HB Racing

F. Scholze /
A. Lewandowski /
J. Liebhauser

37th

5th

33

488 GT3

4430

Rinaldi Racing

S. Parrow /
C. Hook /
M. Lauck

DNF

 

488

488 GT3

4432

Rinaldi Racing

P. Ehret /
M. Berry /
J.M. Balbiani

DNF

 

 

Keith Bluemel         
05/2019