In order to maximize its chances of taking home the GTE-Pro drivers’ title, AF Corse has split up its two championship-contending drivers for this weekend’s FIA WEC season-ending Six Hours of Bahrain.
Gianmaria Bruni and Giancarlo Fisichella, who combined for two class victories this season, will be in separate Ferrari 458 Italias. Both sit 5.5 points behind championship leaders Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke.
Bruni will now team with Toni Vilander in the No. 51 entry while Fisichella moves to the Italian squad’s No. 71 Ferrari with Kamui Kobayashi.
“I received the news like everybody else on Wednesday,” Bruni told Sportscar365. “It’s for sure different, after three years with Giancarlo. We are working for Ferrari. It is our aim for this race so we go forward. We’ll do the maximum for the 51 [car] and we’ll see. It’s hard to say where we’ll be.”
The change comes in wake of a disappointing fourth place finish at Shanghai for the No. 51 entry, which had led the points standings heading into the weekend in China.
While they’ll no longer be able to share the drivers’ title, a win for either the Nos. 51 or 71 entries on Saturday would ensure the drivers’ title for the Amato Ferrari-owned team.
“At the end of the day it doesn’t change that much,” said Vilander, who is reunited with his former co-driver in the No. 51 car. “I need to get the maximum out of the car and myself. Then we will see in the end. We are behind in the points so we’ll go flat-out.”