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Molina Accepts Penalty that Cost Ferrari’s Victory Chance

Miguel Molina finding positives despite crucial penalty which impacted Ferrari’s Bahrain bid…

Photo: Ferrari

Ferrari’s Miguel Molina has accepted the stop-and-go penalty which ultimately cost Ferrari its chance to beat Aston Martin in the 8 Hours of Bahrain GTE-Pro race.

Molina was found to have spun his Ferrari 488 GTE’s wheels at its final scheduled pit stop while running second in class behind the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE.

Video evidence showed the offense to be marginal but Molina was keen to take the positives from losing out on the shot at beating eventual winners Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen.

The Ferrari ended up finishing 13 seconds behind the Aston, while the penalty cost Molina around half a minute.

“It was probably a bit too harsh but that’s how it is,” Molina told Sportscar365.

“I think we had a really good car to fight for the victory and in the end, we finished second. It’s a good result for everyone, especially for our No. 71 crew because we were coming from difficult previous races.

“I think it’s still a really good boost to end the year like this and next time we will try again.”

Molina explained that he initially couldn’t start his Ferrari and his repeated attempts to get the car going resulted in the critical wheel slip when he eventually set it in motion.

“First of all, I had a small issue that the car was not firing up and switching on,” he said.

“Then I had to do it with another button and then I felt that there was a small wheel spin and so I tried to solve [but it] was too much more for them [race control].

“We need to analyze what happened. At the end, we were having a really good pace and the car was really good to drive.

“We will take the positives with P2. There were not so many cars, but they were really competitive.”

Aston Went “Aggressive” with Winning Car

Aston Martin Racing technical director Dan Sayers reckoned the team’s decision to put the No. 95 Vantage off-kilter early on set it in good stead for the rest of the race.

The car in which Thiim and Sorensen took victory from fifth on the six-car grid came in for its first service five laps earlier than its rivals to jump right into the lead.

“We wanted to be fairly aggressive with that car,” Sayers told Sportscar365.

“We had a different tire strategy to No. 97, so we took that there was always going to be one short stint if [the race stayed] green and the chances of it going green were pretty slim.

“So we thought we’d try to get the undercut with that car [the 95] and it turned out pretty well.

“Obviously, we dropped back in the second or third stint because it was out of sequence with everyone. But all of the strategies worked really well and the guys did a great job in the pits at the end and we stayed out of trouble which was key.”

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

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