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Rigon Takes SMP Ferrari to Blancpain GT Win at Silverstone

SMP Racing gives Ferrari first Blancpain GT win in six years at Silverstone…

Photo: Ferrari

SMP Racing driver Davide Rigon passed Giovanni Venturini late in the race to secure Ferrari’s first Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup win in six years at Silverstone on Sunday.

The Ferrari factory driver passed Orange 1 FFF Racing Team’s Venturini on the inside at Luffield with 17 minutes remaining in the three-hour race.

He took over the No. 72 Ferrari 488 GT3 from Mikhail Aleshin and Miguel Molina after the Russian driver started from tenth on the grid.

It came in a shaken-up race with a number of front-runners running far down the order or retiring, and was the first overall win for a Ferrari since Kessel Racing’s 458 Italia GT3 claimed victory at Monza in 2013.

Venturini finished second after a good race for Orange 1 FFF Racing Team, with both of its Pro-entered Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evos running highly.

Late-race drama in the battle for third position dropped both the No. 563 FFF Lamborghini and Strakka Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 down the order, after Marco Mapelli attempted to pass Jack Hawksworth on the penultimate lap.

This led to Hawksworth’s Mercedes being pushed off track at Club, while Mapelli picked up a slow puncture that lost him time.

The Strakka car finished fifth, while Mapelli held onto sixth, with both cars losing two positions.

The final podium position was taken by Dries Vanthoor in the No. 2 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT entry, while Matthieu Jaminet claimed fourth in his ROWE Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.

Grasser Racing Team led the first stint from pole position but a puncture just before the pit stops dropped Christian Engelhart out of the lead, which was inherited by Dennis Lind in the No. 563 FFF entry.

Engelhart, Rolf Ineichen and Mirko Bortolotti failed to make sufficient progress through the field, ultimately finishing 36th after another issue during the final stint.

The fourth-placed ROWE and fifth-placed Strakka entries were two of the cars which qualified down the order as a result of being unable to set a lap time in Q1, starting from 39th and 41st.

Both ROWE Porsches and the No. 4 Black Falcon Mercedes made up a number of positions during the first stint, while Strakka gained position during the first pit stop.

A Full Course Yellow called during the first round of stops, after Jens Liebhauser beached his HB Racing Ferrari at Club, benefitted a number of cars.

The major incident of the race came on the opening lap when four cars were taken out at Chapel Curve.

Nyls Stievenart spun across the track in his Sainteloc Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo, the No. 88 AKKA ASP Mercedes and No. 59 Garage 59 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 were also forced to retire.

Grasser’s No. 19 Lamborghini claimed Silver Cup honors, driven by Gerhard Tweraser, Arno Santamato and Lucas Mauron.

The Pro-Am win went to Tom Onslow-Cole and Remon Vos for Ram Racing, while Barwell Motorsport’s Miguel Ramos, Adrian Amstutz and Leo Machitski won in the Am Cup.

RESULTS: Silverstone

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist who is Sportscar365's European Editor and also Managing Editor for e-racing365. He is a student of Politics and International Relations. Contact Jake

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