Emmanuel Collard and François Perrodo, alongside Danish driver Nicklas Nielsen, enjoyed a winning return in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in the LMGTE Am class behind the wheel of the 488 GTE of AF Corse Ferrari.
The trio won the 4 Hours of Silverstone, the inaugural race of WEC Season 8 held today on the British track. Motoaki Ishikawa, Olivier Beretta and Kei Cozzolino also took a podium place for MR Racing, finally achieving a goal they had been pursuing since their debut in the series. In the LMGTE Pro class, fourth place overall, not without regrets, went to the 488 GTE no. 51 of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi, while the no. 71 of Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina had to retire after an accident provoked by an LMP1.
LMGTE Pro. Expectations for the race were high after yesterday’s superb all-red front row. Unfortunately, from the very first laps, things didn’t unfold as hoped. A puncture early on meant that Calado had almost 50 seconds to make up on the leader, so the rain, which began to fall around lap 51, offered the opportunity to take a bold strategic decision. The two cars stuck with slicks despite the wet track and lost some positions but gained a potentially decisive advantage for the remainder of the race. However, just as the strategy was beginning to pay dividends, Olivier Jarvis, at the wheel of the LMP1 class Ginetta collided with Miguel Molina at the entrance to Maggotts. The contact ended very badly, with car no. 71 crashing into the wall and having to retire damaged. The episode triggered an appearance from the Safety Car and, once the race resumed, allowed Alessandro Pier Guidi to make a formidable comeback. In the space of a few laps, from 79 to 96, the Italian passed the Aston Martin and the two Porsches driven by Bruni and Christensen with some spectacular manoeuvres. One of these was against the race leader starting outside Copse and completed at the entrance to Maggotts. A few minutes later, Pier Guidi was notified of a drive-through due to Calado overtaking an Am car during the Safety Car pass-around phase. The penalty was canceled just as the 488 GTE no. 51 was passing through the pit lane to pay the penalty. Back on track in fourth place, almost 30 seconds off the leader, Pier Guidi halved the gap but finished in fourth.
LMGTE Am. After a race spent among the leaders, the Ferrari 488 GTE crewed by Emmanuel Collard, François Perrodo and Nicklas Nielsen secured a well-deserved win, celebrating its return to the series and repeating the victory of 2016. AF Corse’s car took the lead with 20 minutes to go after Collard had put his long experience to good use in the toughest part of the race. The Ferrari of MR Racing also clinched its first podium of the series, vanquishing the Porsche no. 86 of Gulf Racing a few moments before the chequered flag. Rookie Kei Cozzolino celebrated third place with his teammates Motoaki Ishikawa and Olivier Beretta. The race was dominated by unfortunate episodes and some contacts for the Ferrari of Red River Sport driven by Grimes-Mowlem-Hollings, eighth at the finish line, and the second AF Corse car crewed by Flohr-Castellacci-Fisichella.
Programme. The FIA World Endurance Championship heads to Japan for the 6 Hours of Fuji on 6 October.