1-2 overwinning voor Ferrari in de 24u van Le Mans
De tachtigste 24u van Le Mans, de meest prestigieuze lange afstandsrace, zag een één-twee overwinning voor Ferrari in de GTE Pro klasse met Giancarlo Fisichella, Gianmaria Bruni en Toni Vilander als rijders in een 458 Italia voor het Italiaanse AF Corse, het enige Italiaanse team. Tijdens het tiende uur van de race kwam het team aan de leiding, die daarna niet meer uit handen werd gegeven. Ze kregen zo'n voorsprong, dat ze de laatste uren op hun gemakje rondjes reden tot aan de finish om drie uur zondagmiddag. De woensdag vòòr de race, tijdens de trainingen, raakte de wagen zwaar beschadigd, dus was de vreugde extra groot. Daarnaast was er nog de Ferrari van het Luxury Racing team, die als tweede eindigde, bestuurd door Frederic Makowiecki, Dominik Farnbacher en Jaime Melo. De andere AF Corse Ferrari 458 eindigde als vierde, bestuurd door Marco Cioci, Andrea Bertolini en Olivier Beretta. De andere Ferrari's deden het ook prima, zodat men bij Ferrari uitermate blij was. Hoewel het in de Formule 1 nog niet optimaal gaat, doen de 'gewone' Ferrari's het uitstekend in deze 24 uur durende slijtageslag:
The curtain came down yesterday on the eightieth Le Mans 24 Hours, the classic endurance race held at La Sarthe, which was also the third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The AF Corse Ferrari team has added its name to the list of Le Mans winners, thanks to a GTE Pro class victory for Giancarlo Fisichella, Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander, at the end of a perfectly managed race that had started on the back foot, after the car was badly damaged in an accident in free practice on Wednesday. AF Corse was the only Italian team entered in the most important endurance race in the world and its Ferrari took the lead in the tenth hour, staying there to the chequered flag. Their dominance was such that the drivers were able to manage their lead in the final hours, thus running calmly to the end to stand on the topmost step of the podium, to the great satisfaction of Ferrari and the team, the latter thus getting their name on the winners’ roll of honour for the first time at La Sarthe. Runner-up was another Maranello machine, run by Luxury Racing in the hands of a crew made up of Frederic Makowiecki, Dominik Farnbacher and Jaime Melo, thus confirming the excellent performance of our cars. Fourth in class was the other AF Corse Ferrari 458 GT2, No. 71, driven by Marco Cioci, Andrea Bertolini and Olivier Beretta. In the GTE AM category, the best of the Ferraris entered was the Krohn Racing teama car (Niclas Jonsson, Michele Rugolo and Tracy Krohn) which finished on the podium in third, while a sixth place went to crew made up of Robert Kauffman, Rui Aguas and Brian Vickers, entered by AF Corse-Waltrip. Unfortunately, the AF Corse Ferrari No. 81 (Piergiuseppe Perazzini, Niki Cadei and Matt Griffin) did not make it the finish, retiring after an accident. The excitement following this amazing win just achieved at Le Mans and the awareness that it’s a truly important result, down to the work of the team, has united the comments of the drivers who delivered this great result. It was a case of joy and satisfaction for Fisichella, who had this to say after crossing the line: “This is the most important race of the year and at the end of it, we achieved our objective. The win was especially down to the incredible efforts of the AF Corse guys who had to change the chassis after the accident on Wednesday, delivering a car that was better than anyone could have expected. I did not think I would be make it out on track for the final twenty minutes of qualifying, however thanks to their efforts, the miracle happened. Thanks guys, thank you to Amato and to Ferrari…and to everyone who contributed to this win.”
The 24 Hours is the most sought after prize in the career of a driver, even for a race veteran like Vilander. “Today, we have taken the most important win in the GT class. Ferrari and AF Corse did a great job of preparing for it and they were incredible when it came to repairing the car in practice. We all believed, from start to finish and this is the result.” One of those who believed in it the most was definitely Bruni, who inevitably thought back to the disappointment of 2011, citing it as a something that spurred him on this tIme. “After what happened last year, when we lost the race in the final hour, this year was a nice revenge. The win came thanks to a long period of preparation and testing which kept us busy all year. The mechanics were fantastic and my team-mates were perfect. That’s the only way to win a 24 hour race, all working together. Also after the accident, the team did not get demoralized and out on track, we did our bit to pay them back for their efforts.”
“It is an important victory, in an important race which has always been important in the history of Ferrari,” Luca di Montezemolo. “It further pleases me that two Italians, Giancarlo Fisichella and Gimmi Bruni stood on the top step of the podium, along with Toni Vilander. This one-two at Le Mans proves that the amazing 458 is truly competitive. My congratulations and those of everyone at Ferrari go to the AF Corse team, its engineers, mechanics and naturally, its drivers.”
Congratulations for the team run by Amato Ferrari came from Jean-Jacques His, Ferrari’s head of Engines, just days after the company’s V8 had been awarded the “Best Performance Engine” prize, for the second year running at the “International Engine of the Year Awards.” “I am particularly pleased with this amazing result,” commented His. “And I want to congratulate the entire team and the drivers for their performance in this important race. I am very happy that, in such a demanding race, we have demonstrated the quality of our engine, in terms of efficiency and performance. A further confirmation of that came from the fact a Ferrari entered by Luxury Racing took second place and, just like the Italian team, also had an excellent race.”
The head of Corse Clienti, Antonello Coletta was justifiably proud of the amazing win. “This victory was down to the company and the excellent performance demonstrated by our cars in such a demanding race. It was even more special, as it came thanks to the efforts of the AF Corse team that showed great professionalism in rebuilding a car from scratch and ensuring it was competitive, after the major accident in free practice and finally the win is also a success for the Corse Clienti department which for the third time in its history has won this prestigious race (in 2008 and 2009 with Risi Competizione and now this year with AF Corse). Italy has returned to winning ways at La Sarthe with a victory that came from an Italian team, thanks to the talents of a predominantly Italian driver line-up. I am proud therefore that Ferrari has contributed to delivering this really important result.”
Alle nieuws die niet in de andere categorieén passen (bv eenmalige races).
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