The best of the Ferraris will head out from fifth position in the Pro and Pro-Am classes for the 6 Hours of Nurburgring, the second round of the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup.
The two 488 GT3 Evo 2020 cars #51 and #52 of AF Corse finished the qualifying session to seal the third row of the grid for the race to be held tomorrow. A performance during which, in Pro class at least, Alessandro Pier Guidi was hampered in his bid for pole position by heavy traffic.
First round. With the sun setting on the Nurburgring track and the last dim glimmers of light illuminating the scene, the session got underway with the Ferraris taken out on track by Alessandro Pier Guidi, Davide Rigon, Jonathan Hui, Niek Hommerson and Pierre Ehret. The Maranello machinery was struggling to record a clean lap and were unable to exploit the full potential of the 488 GT3 Evo2020. At the end of the 15-minute session, Rigon, at the wheel of #72 SMP Racing, stood eleventh with 1:55.409, while Pier Guidi finished in sixteenth place on 1:55.632. Elsewhere, Pro-Am class produced a promising qualification session, with Hui taking fourth thanks to a time of 1:57.132 aboard the Ferrari courtesy of Sky Tempesta Racing, pipping Hommerson in fifth position by three tenths-of-a-second with a time of 1:57.489. Twelfth fastest time went to Ehret in the Rinaldi Racing car.
Second round. For the second session Nicklas Nielsen, Sergey Sirotkin, Chris Froggatt, Louis Machiels and Rino Mastronardi took to the track. Unlike their respective partners, both Nielsen and Sirotkin managed to have better luck with the traffic and their performance, in spite of being about six tenths-of-a-second off the frontrunners, improved significantly. The Dane from the AF Corse team finished with the sixth best performance thanks to a time of 1:54.908, while the Russian representing SMP Racing was eleventh with 1:55.034. In the Pro-Am class, Mastronardi at the wheel of Rinaldi Racing’s 488 GT3 Evo 2020 produced an excellent 1:55.471 which earned him the second quickest time, while Louis Machiels ended the 15 scheduled minutes in eighth place with 1:56.673. The AF Corse driver got heavily bogged down in traffic, while Chris Froggatt was eleventh with 1:57.209.
Third round. With the light now almost absent along the five kilometres of track, James Calado, Miguel Molina, Eddie Cheever III, Andrea Bertolini and Daniel Keilwitz headed out to tackle the final, decisive session. Calado, at the wheel of the AF Corse Ferrari, produced a fantastic lap to gain the fifth fastest time of 1:54.349, trailing Molina by just less than two tenths-of-a-second, eighth with 1:54.579, evidence of just how close the gaps are between the cars. In Pro-Am class, Bertolini finished the session third on 1:55.172 for AF Corse, while Keilwitz followed in fifth just 25 milliseconds behind. Eighth best performance went to Eddie Cheever III whose time of 1:55.428 was chalked up on his third attempt. The session came to a premature close due to the red flag which came out to signal an accident involving a Porsche.
Combined classification. The starting grid, determined by the average of the three times recorded during the qualifying sessions, sees the two Ferraris participating in Pro class begin from the third row, with the #51 AF Corse entrant ahead of the #72 from SMP Racing. Only 44 milliseconds separated the two Ferraris, that finished 359 and 403 milliseconds shy of the GPX Racing-run Porsche, which scooped the pole position. Considering the traffic found on the first round, the second row could well be within reach for the 488 GT3 Evo 2020. In Pro-Am class, it will also be a third-row start for the #52 AF Corse, 284 milliseconds from the pole position claimed by Akka’s Mercedes ASP. Seventh best time for Rinaldi Racing’s Ferrari #488 who will have every reason to complain about the traffic during Ehret’s attempts, likewise the crew of Sky Tempesta Racing, who will be ninth on the grid.
Schedule. The six-hour race kicks off tomorrow at 11:45. It will be possible to view the action live-streamed at Ferrari Races.