Spa-Francorchamps, 3 May –It didn’t take long for Ferrari to make up for the disappointment of the opening round at Silverstone of the FIA WEC (World Endurance Championship) today at Spa-Francorchamps. This time, world champion, the Italian “Gimmi” Bruni and Finland’s Toni Vilander left their rivals in no doubt in the battle for LMGTE Pro honours from start to finish. They crossed the line to give Ferrari its eleventh endurance win in the Ardennes. Only once did car 51 lose the lead, but it was all part of the strategy and down to pitting at a different time to its main rivals. In fact, Bruni had no problem keeping his pursuers at bay, led for a long time by the other AF Corse 458 Italia GT2, in the hands of the young crew of James Calado and Davide Rigon.
In the last half hour, it was in fact Rigon who came under strong pressure from the Team Manthey Porsche, driven by Jorg Bermeister and Patrick Pilet. With a few minutes remaining, the Frenchman managed to force Rigon into making a mistake under braking for the downhill Rivage hairpin. This meant there was a big enough gap for the Frenchman to get by and head home for second place. All the same, Rigon and Calado’s third place was a significant result in only the second race of their partnership.
There was also cause for celebration in the LMGTE Am class, in which Ferrari secured a twelfth Spa win. That went to the crew who had saved the day for Maranello back in Silverstone, the AF Corse car 61 driven by the Italian duo of Marco Cioci and Mirko Venturi, teamed with Argentina’s Luis Perez-Companc.
They managed to see off the attentions of the two Aston Martins which also made it to the podium. The other Ferraris in the category finished fifth with car 81 (Wyatt-Rugolo-Bertolini,) seventh (car 60 for Giammaria-Mann-Casé) and eighth (car 90 for the 8 Star Motorsport team,) which at one point lost a wheel. The overall winner of the race, just as in Silverstone, was the Toyota of Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre and Sebastian Buemi. The next round of the WEC is the highlight of the season, the Le Mans 24 Hours, on 15th June at the legendary and eponymous French track.