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Clearwater ’50/50′ for Sebring After Qualifying Crash

No. 61 GTE-Am Ferrari a doubt for 1000 Miles of Sebring after Companc accident…

Photo: Daniel Lloyd

Clearwater Racing’s GTE-Am class Ferrari is ’50/50′ for the FIA World Endurance Championship race at Sebring after the car crashed heavily in Thursday night qualifying.

Luis Perez Companc lost control of the No. 61 Ferrari 488 GTE on the fast run down to Turn 7, where the car struck the left-side walls and incurred substantial front-end damage.

Companc’s co-driver Matt Griffin said the team will need to assess whether the chassis is damaged to a degree that would prevent it from competing in the 1000-mile race, which starts at 4 p.m.

“He basically just went bang into the wall, sixth gear, at about 260 or 270 kph, so it was a hefty hit,” Griffin told Sportscar365.

“The guys are looking at it now. It doesn’t help being in America [because] if you’re in Europe you probably have a better chance of putting it all back together. But if anyone can fix it, they can. It’s just whether it’s fixable.

“We haven’t had a chance to look at the car properly but I think it’s 50/50 whether we’ll be racing or not tomorrow.

“There’s a bit of time. If it’s fixable, they’ll fix it. The issue is whether there’s chassis damage and then it’s not fixable. You’ll need a week to fix that.”

A cause of the accident has yet to be determined, however Griffin, who had handed the car over to Perez Companc for the second part of the two-driver qualifying session, said the track conditions might have played a factor.

“The conditions were much different than what we expected,” he said.

“It was strange because for me, at the end of my run, I said [to Companc], ‘I’m sorry man, I just had a couple of big moments’. So I think it just caught Luis out, he just lost it on the brakes. It was a big hit.

“He has been unbelievably consistent and genuinely, if we can put it back together, we have a real shot at winning the race. But we’ve got to have the car on the ground, so we’ll see.”

Perez Companc was qualifying for his first WEC race since the Six Hours of Circuit of The Americas in 2014, having joined the Clearwater lineup for the three remaining rounds of the 2018-19 season.

The Argentinian, who is entered in the Ferrari with Griffin and Matteo Cressoni, was seen walking away from the site of the accident.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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