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AF Corse Sweeps GTE Classes at Silverstone

GTE-Pro 1-2 and GTE-Am win for AF Corse at Silverstone…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Davide Rigon and Sam Bird scored a lights-to-flag victory for AF Corse in the GTE-Pro class at the Six Hours of Silverstone, securing the Ferrari 488 GTE its first competition win.

The team’s No. 83 Ferrari 458 Italia also won the GTE-Am battle, driven by Francois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Rui Aguas.

On the way to his first FIA WEC win, Davide Rigon took a strong lead off the line from GTE pole and 15th overall on the grid, while a tense battle would ensue throughout the race for the remaining podium positions.

It was a less fortunate start for Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado in the sister No. 51 Ferrari, as Bruni had to serve a three minute stop-go penalty as a result of a pre-race engine change.

Even so, Bruni came through to finish second, behind Rigon, and deliver AF Corse the best result possible to open its FIA World Endurance Championship season. 

Nicki Thiim was behind the two 488s in GTE-Pro at the line, driving the No. 95 Aston Martin V8 Vantage alongside Marco Sørensen and Darren Turner.

The car had been near the front since Turner’s battle with the Fords and Michael Christensen early in the race.

The Ford GTs slowly slipped down the field as the race progressed, and Ford Chip Ganassi Racing could only manage fourth and fifth on its series debut.

Completing the class standings were the No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR, which was delayed early with suspension failure and the No. 97 Aston Martin. The latter retired late in the race after a suspected engine failure.

Pedro Lamy finished behind Collard in GTE-Am, and he took second position for the No. 98 Aston Martin crew along with Paul Dalla Lana and Mathias Lauda.

Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing had led most of the race with Khaled Al Qubaisi, David Heinemeier Hansson and Klaus Bachler, but when Heinemeier Hansson pitted with two hours to go, the car lost the lead and would never retake it.

With just 30 minutes remaining, the team’s Porsche 911 RSR suffered from a suspension failure which sent it to the garage for repairs, with the KCMG Porsche having a late-race puncture. 

The Gulf Racing Porsche retired mid-race after a heavy collision with the overall leader, Brendon Hartley, which took both cars out of the action.

This left just Larbre Competition, which took the final podium position in GTE-Am, for Paolo Ruberti, Yutaka Yamagashi and Pierre Ragues.

Results: Six Hours of Silverstone

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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