Silverstone, 20 April – It was a bitter Easter for Ferrari in the first race of the FIA WEC (World Endurance Championship) in England. There was just one podium to show from the two categories in which the Maranello company was involved, the LMGTE PRO and the LMGTE AM.
The race was characterised by rain, which had such an effect on the competition that it even drew proceedings to a halt almost half an hour early. The race director was forced to bring out the Safety Car because of the intensity of the rain and shortly afterwards he had to call time on what should have been a Six Hour race once the track had become effectively unusable. The joke was on the Ferrari of the world champion “Gimmi” Bruni and Finland’s Toni Vilander who had stopped in the pits to put on full wet tyres just a few seconds before the safety car came out onto the track.
That stop for Bruni and Vilander meant they lost the third position that the team comprising the world drivers’ champion had held until that point, behind the Porsches which as expected could not be caught in wet conditions. Victory in the LMGTE PRO class therefore went to the Porsche number 92 run by Team Manthey and driven by Makowiecki-Holzer-Liezt which defeated their team-mates Pilet-Bergmeister-Tandy and the Aston Martin of Turner-Mucke. Bruni and Vilander came home ahead of the other AF Corse car, driven by youngsters Davide Rigon and James Calado.
Ferrari’s only podium therefore arrived in the LMGTEAM class thanks to Michele Rugolo, Australia’s Steve Wyatt and the British ex GP2 driver Sam Bird. The trio, with the number 81 car of AF Corse, in fact took third place just behind the Aston Martins of Poulsen-Hansson-Thiim and Della Lana-Lamy-Nygaard.
The overall race was won by the Toyota of Sebastien Buemi, Nicolas Lapierre and Anthony Davidson. The next round of the championship will take place on May 3 at Spa Francorchamps.