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Monza Saturday Notebook

Sportscar365’s post-qualifying notebook from the 6 Hours of Monza…

Photo: MPS Agency

***The No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo was disqualified from qualifying and ordered to the back of the grid for tomorrow’s race due to a “non-compliance” with the technical regulations.

***Francois Perrodo set the second-fastest GTE-Am time, but the Ferrari’s minimum ground clearance was later found to be less than 50 mm. Alessio Rovera will take the start, as the entry’s fastest driver in Free Practice.

***Iron Lynx’s No. 60 Ferrari was also sent to the back of the grid for not setting a time in qualifying. Claudio Schiavoni was trying out the car after extensive repairs following an accident at the end of FP2 on Saturday morning.

***Schiavoni’s car will also be required to serve a drive-through at the restart of the race, following a stewards’ decision related to his accident. The Italian failed to register a slow zone at Ascari, which led to his Ferrari striking the back of the braking Alpine A480 Gibson. The Alpine then hit the DragonSpeed Oreca 07 Gibson from behind. The incident was logged in a stewards’ report.

***View the amended qualifying classification here and the provisional starting grid here.

***Fuel saving has been a key topic for Alpine at Monza, where lift-and-coast tactics can be used in the Turn 1 braking zone. “Compared to Portimao we have a lot more to gain here if you lift the last 100 meters,” Nicolas Lapierre told Sportscar365. “You don’t lose so much in lap time, but you save a lot of fuel.”

***Alpine is trying to maximize its available fuel to limit Toyota’s stint length advantage seen at Spa and Portimao.

***Mike Conway will take the start in the pole-sitting No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid, as was the case at Portimao. Sebastien Buemi will be in the No. 8 Toyota as usual, while Nicolas Lapierre is set to run the opening stint for Alpine. Andre Negrao had that role at the opening two rounds of the season. Pipo Derani and Richard Westbrook start for Glickenhaus.

***Derani was one of four drivers to gain two penalty points for not reducing to the 80 km/h control speed quickly enough when the red flags came out during prototype qualifying. The others were Filipe Albuquerque, Oliver Webb and Renger van der Zande.

***Toyota technical director Pascal Vasselon explained another reason for the Japanese manufacturer holding its cars in the pits after the qualifying red flag, besides saving tires for the race.

“The Alpine was struggling to do a [quick] lap in the first lap, and they only had one lap [after the red]. We were in fact a bit worried, but we were quite confident that they would not do it on the first lap.”

***All of Toyota’s No. 7 crew drivers have qualified across the first three rounds of the season, while Brendon Hartley conducted his second qualifying in the No. 8.

***Michelin has brought its soft and medium compounds to Monza, which is known for producing high degradation on sports cars.

***A couple of drivers who contested last weekend’s European Le Mans Series round at Monza but aren’t in the WEC field are present with their respective LMP2 teams. Jazeman Jaafar, who drove for JOTA in the 2018-19 WEC season, is on-site with the British team this weekend supporting Sean Gelael, while Team WRT ELMS driver Louis Deletraz was also in the paddock.

***GR Racing is ramping up its esports activities and taking part in the Formula Pro series, which is a Grand Prix-style competition set on rFactor 2. The GTE-Am team’s open-wheel car will sport a Wolverhampton Wanderers livery, similar to how GR received backing from the Premier League football club for last year’s virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans.

***Kevin Estre said there was a “bit of a slipstream game” going on between Porsche and Ferrari in the GTE-Pro qualifying battle. Porsche ace Estre ultimately got the upper hand by tucking in behind Ferrari’s Alessandro Pier Guidi.

“It was very close but I’m very pleased to be in front of the reds here,” said the Frenchman. “Ferrari have been very strong over the long runs, so we’ll see.”

***Estre’s pole added a further point to his and Neel Jani’s world championship tally, reducing Pier Guidi and James Calado’s lead to five points.

***British spectators hoping to attend the 24 Hours of Le Mans have been dealt a blow following the UK government’s announcement that fully vaccinated arrivals from France will no longer be exempt from a 10-day quarantine. Those with two COVID-19 vaccinations will be able to avoid quarantine upon return from all other ‘amber’ list countries from Monday.

***Sportscar365 understands that Ferrari is set to reschedule its Finali Mondiali (World Final) after the 8 Hours of Bahrain was repositioned to the same date, as part of WEC’s new double-header season finale structure. The Finali Mondiali, which covers all of Ferrari’s sporting activities including GTE, is due to take place on Nov. 4-7.

***The WEC has made the 6 Hours of Monza race program available to view online here.

***Monza is preparing to welcome fans tomorrow, for the first WEC race to be held in front of a crowd since the 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas in February 2020.

***Fans were not permitted in the circuit on Friday and Saturday. A display of two Agusta A129 military helicopters was due to take place over the starting grid, but this has been canceled due to “technical reasons” according to Monza circuit.

***BMW factory driver Connor De Phillippi has set up a fundraising page to support victims of recent severe flooding in the region surrounding the Nürburgring. Proceeds go to Kreissparkasse Ahrweiler for the Hochwasserhilfe Fund.

***The death toll across Germany and Belgium had risen to 170 by Saturday, according to Reuters

***Round three of the 2021 WEC season gets underway at 12 p.m. local time (6 a.m. EST).

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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