Spielberg, 20 July – It was a triumphant day for the Ferraris taking part in the third round of the European Le Mans Series, held at Spielberg in Austria. In fact the 458 Italia GT3 cars made a clean sweep of the podium places in both classes in which they were entered, the LMGTE and the GTC.
In LMGTE, the blue riband class of GT racing, there was a fantastic battle between the AF Corse number 55 car driven by Italy’s Michele Rugolo and Briton Duncan Cameron and Ireland’s Matt Griffin and the 81 Kessel Racing car of Italians Matteo Cressoni and Thomas Kemenater. In the early stages, the 85 Aston Martin was also in the hunt,, before Roald Goethe crashed, meaning the team had a long repair job on its hands.
Towards the end of the race, which ran for four hours, the fight between the 55 and 81 cars was an all-Italian affirar as driving the AF Corse 458 Italia was Rugolo. He did well to fend off Cressoni and took his second win of the season after doing so at the opening round in Silverstone. Third was the JMW Motorsport Ferrari with the British crew of aniel McKenzie, George Richardson e Bob Bell. A further three Maranello machines filled places four to six.
Ferrari also totally dominated in GTC, aimed more at the amateur racer. Boris Rotenberg’s SMP Racing team scored a one two with the number 71 car of the Russians Kirill Ladygin and Aleksey Basov, who were literally dragged to the win thanks to a brilliant drive from Italy’s Luca Persiani.
Second were their team-mates in the 73 car, the Russians Devi Markozov and Anton Ladygin teamed with the Monegasque Olivier Beretta. Third was the 95 AF Corse car driven by the Belgian Adrien De Leener and France’s Cedric Jean François Sbirrazzuoli. Race winner overall was the Alpine of the Signature team in the hands of the Englishman Oliver James Webb and the French pair Paul-Loup Chatin and Nelson Panciatici. The next race is on the 14th September at Paul Ricard.