Maranello, 29 September – It was a Saturday worth celebrating for Ferrari. It’s not a common occurrence to be able to celebrate winning two important championships on two different continents, as happened yesterday. While victory in both classes of the European Le Mans Series could be taken for granted, with a one-two in the GTE category and a clean sweep of the top three places in GTC, adding a little something extra to this double triumph, the same could not be said of the Grand-Am class. At Lime Rock, Connecticut, there were some very strong opponents and a points gap to be made up to the Porsche in the team classification, while the advantage held in the drivers and constructors championship was pretty tight. The accident that almost knocked out the Lally and Potter Porsche on lap 2 was a definite helping hand for the Scuderia Corsa team, but the crews and the two 458s in their Grand-Am spec, proved impeccable right to the end, allowing Alessandro Balzan to be crowned champion and Giacomo Mattioli’s team to take its first title, while Ferrari came out on top in the constructors, thus repeating the triple win of the previous year.
“We are very happy to take such an important title as the Grand-Am again and it really is very satisfying,” said Antonello Coletta, the head of Maranello’s Corse Clienti department to www.ferrari.com. “I want to thank the drivers and the teams who flew our flag in the USA for their efforts and the spirit in which they tackled this championship. Yesterday, could have been a difficult day for us, but everyone proved they knew how to give the best of themselves at the right moment.”
For Alessandro Balzan, it was not his first win for Ferrari: the driver from Rovigo won the 2012 European and World titles in the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli. “I didn’t relax for a moment during the race, because anything could still happen,” he said at the end of the race which brought him the title. “I knew I was in the lead in the championship and I had to be very careful, trying not to make any mistakes when the prototype cars were overtaking me, but I lost a lot of time like that. I am very happy for the team: it’s incredible to win in our first year. I want to thank Giacomo Mattioli because he believed in me, otherwise I would never have had this opportunity. It’s a dream for an Italian to come to American and win with Ferrari.”
The European Le Mans series also produced a repeat of the 2012 success in the senior class, but this year there was some stiff opposition and further more, the marque also took the win in the GTC class. “To win a championship like the ELMS is a very important result and to see two teams take the prize in two classes is a noteworthy achievement,” added Coletta. “On behalf of Ferrari, I congratulate the Ram Racing team for its success in GTE and the SMP team for winning GTC and of course the drivers who have been crowned champion: Mowlem, Griffin, Babini, Shaitar, Ladygin”.