WEC – Second place for Rigon and Bird in the 6 Hours of Mexico

4 September 2017

WEC – Second place for Rigon and Bird in the 6 Hours of Mexico

Mexico City, 3 September 2017 – In the 6 Hours of Mexico, the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, Ferrari finished second in the GTE-Pro class with the 488 GTE no. 71 of AF Corse crewed by Davide Rigon and Sam Bird. In the same class, James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi were sixth in no. 51. The two Ferraris in GTE-Am class, the no. 54 of Spirit Of Race, for Molina-Castellacci-Flohr, and the no. 61 of Clearwater Racing, for Griffin-Sawa-Mok, finished respectively fourth and fifth. With this result Ferrari strengthened its position in the Constructors’ standings, while Bird and Rigon made up points on leaders Andy Priaulx and Henry Tincknell in the Drivers’ standings.
 
GTE-Pro. In the GTE-Pro class, poleman Sam Bird in the Ferrari 488 GTE no. 71 was in first at the start, pursued by the Aston Martin no. 95 of Sorensen and then the two Fords. James Calado, with AF Corse’s car no. 51, took sixth place after few laps thanks to the contact between Christensen’s Porsche and the 488 GTE of Clearwater Racing driven by Weng Sun Mok. At the end of the first hour Sorensen managed to overtake Bird but shortly after, at the first pitstop, the positions were reversed with Davide Rigon again in front of Nicki Thiim. Calado, for his part, overtook the Ford of Olivier Pla before the Arena (the last area of the Mexico City circuit) but was hit by the French driver on the left rear wheel forcing him to enter the pits. Fortunately, his stint was about to end and so car no. 51 just had to bring forward its planned stop by just a few laps. Alessandro Pier Guidi took over, putting in a great stint, to guide the Ferrari into third place. At the next pit stop car no. 51’s race was hampered by an unfortunately incident. Immediately after refuelling, with Calado in the car, it suffered a fuel pump problem that was solved with another visit to the pits. Obviously Calado and Pier Guidi lost several positions and resumed in sixth place, a lap down. At the same time, the Aston Martin no. 95 overtook Ferrari no. 71 at the pits to move into first. In the final two hours there were two Full Course Yellows, where the cars had to drive at 80 km/h. In the first one, the Aston Martin no. 95 stopped for a pitstop running out of order compared to the strategy of the majority of the rivals, and in the second the Ferrari, which had meanwhile moved into first, also pulled in and thus managed to keep first place. Bird and Rigon’s ambitions of winning were frustrated by a 10-second penalty for exceeding 80km/h during the first Full Course Yellow phase. Car no. 71 thus finished second behind the Aston Martin and ahead of the Porsche of Makowiecki-Lietz’s, while car no. 51 was sixth.
 
GTE-Am. It was an uphill race for the two Ferrari 488 GTEs entered in the GTE-Am class. Spirit Of Race no. 54 came fourth with Miguel Molina, Francesco Castellacci and Thomas Flohr, while the 488 GTE of Clearwater Racing ran into two drive-throughs losing precious seconds. In the end Matt Griffin, Keita Sawa and Weng Sun Mok crossed the line in fifth in a race won by the Porsche of Proton Racing driven by Matteo Cairoli, Marvin Dienst and Christian Ried. The overall victory went to the Porsche of Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley. The result of the 6 Hours of Mexico leaves a slightly bit bitter taste in the mouth, because it is clear that victory was within reach, but the two Ferraris secured a good haul of points helping the Prancing Horse to stretch its lead in the Constructors’ standings. Ferrari now has a nine-length lead over Ford, 22 over Aston Martin, and 31 over Porsche. Next race in two weeks is at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.