François Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and official Ferrari Competizioni GT driver Nicklas Nielsen triumphed in the FIA Endurance Trophy in the LMGTE Am class together with AF Corse, first in the team rankings. The result came thanks to the runner-up spot in the 8 Hours of Bahrain, the final race of Season 8 of the FIA World Endurance Championship. In LMGTE Pro class, Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina’s third position partially mitigates the disappointment of the unfortunate outcome of James Calado title run, scuppered by a collision while lapping another car.
LMGTE Am. On the eve of the race, the title run-in was limited to the TF Sport-run Aston Martin and the #83 AF Corse 488 GTE. After a troublesome start, in the latter part of the race the crew of the Piacenza-based team went into attack mode and, after recuperating a lap when the Safety Car – triggered while debris from the #51 Ferrari was cleared from the track – pulled out all the stops in an attempt to claim the top honours. The final twist, which made the undertaking somewhat easier, came early in the eighth and final hour of racing when the TF Sport car was forced into a long pit-stop to change brakes, while the Ferrari, with Nielsen at the wheel, produced a fine showing to move up into second place. Fourth at the finish, in a performance that even saw Giancarlo Fisichella leading the race, were team-mates Thomas Flohr and Francesco Castellacci, at the wheel of #54, while the Red River Sport entry posted tenth, despite a very convincing exhibition. The race was won by the #56 Project 1-run Porsche. Perrodo, Collard and Nielsen – as well as AF Corse – thus conclude the season on 158 points, achieved by means of two wins and four podiums.
LMGTE Pro. Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina’s third place at the final race of the season, on a circuit usually favourable to Ferraris, represents a fine result even if the difference in performance from the frontrunners prevented the pair from fighting for the victory. The #71 488 GTE got involved in some fine battles against, first, the Porsches and later the Aston Martins, before finally making it onto the podium after the rivals were forced to pit in order to replace their brakes. Elsewhere, James Calado’s attempt at the drivers’ title came a cropper, eventually going to Marco Sørensen and Nicki Thiim. The English driver, alongside team-mate Daniel Serra, who replaced Alessandro Pier Guidi, was producing a fine showing and occupying second position. At the start of the fifth hour, with Serra at the wheel, a misunderstanding while passing a lapped car led to a collision resulting in a breakage of the Ferrari’s left rear wheel rim. The Brazilian managed to keep the car intact as he limped towards the pits, only to pull up short when the flapping tyre damaged parts of the diffuser and the bodywork, triggering a Safety Car entrance. The sixth place finish, four laps behind the winning #92 Porsche, gives James Calado third final place in the drivers’ standings.
Antonello Coletta, Head of Ferrari Attività Sportive GT – “The FIA Endurance Trophy victory in the LMGTE Am class for AF Corse and their drivers Nielsen, Perrodo and Collard, is a reward for the great season played out by the team in a highly competitive and hard-fought category. The evenness and the presence of so many crews made the championship both exciting and difficult. To win titles it was necessary to do practically nothing wrong and today’s result confirms AF Corse’s great preparation for this type of race. I am also pleased with Nicklas Nielsen’s performance in such a demanding race. I am pleased that Ferrari’s roll of honour has been enriched by these two trophies that were missing from the showcase”.