lundi 2 novembre 2015

Podium for the Ferrari of Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander in Shanghai


The rain, which had threatened to spoil Ferrari's plans two weeks ago at Fuji, certainly succeeded on Sunday in Shanghai where, after monopolising qualifying, the 458 Italias in the GTE-Pro class only managed a podium finish, with car no. 51 of Gianmaria "Gimmi" Bruni and Toni Vilander taking second. Car no. 71 of Davide Rigon and James Calado came fourth. Victory went to the Porsche of Richard Lietz who is closing in on the Drivers' title, while Ferrari holds first place in the Manufacturers' standings with just one race to go, the 6 Hours of Bahrain at Sakhir on 21 November.

GTE-Pro. The race kicked off in light rain, which quickly became heavier. Toni Vilander initially managed to hold the lead in car no. 51 while no. 71, with Davide Rigon at the wheel, was bumped by Porsche no. 92 and lost three positions. Porsche took advantage of the rain to secure first and second, with the no. 91 of Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen powering ahead. Behind the Ferraris continued to fight it out with Porsche no. 92. At the two-thirds mark no. 71, with James Calado, suffered a puncture that ended any hopes of a podium finish. The rain finally stopped falling two and a half hours from the end, and about 60 minutes later it was possible to fit slicks tyres. At that point Vilander handed over to "Gimmi" Bruni who fought back to within shouting distance of no. 92. At the final pit stop, the Porsche changed tyres and driver, while the Ferrari with Bruni simply refuelled and made its exit ahead of its rivals to secure a second place important for the Constructors' championship where the Prancing Horse remains in command. However, Lietz's win combined with the fourth place of Rigon and Calado complicates the drivers' standings. Both crews are still in contention but only Lietz's withdrawal could reverse the situation in Bahrain.

GTE-Am. The GTE-Am class saw a day marked by penalties, but also the domination of the 458 Italias. Victory went, for the first time this season, to car no. 83 of AF Corse crewed by François Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Rui Aguas who were strongest even after a drive through due to an infraction at the pit stop. The three crossed the line ahead of Aston Martin no. 98 driven by Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda, and Ferrari no. 72 of SMP Racing driven by Victor Shaytar, Aleksey Basov and Andrea Bertolini, also penalised by a stop&go for making a pit stop when the pitlane was closed (in a Full Course Yellow phase). The result of Sunday's race means that only Ferrari crews will be fighting for the title in Bahrain, with no. 72 enjoying a 19-point lead.