Alessandro Pier Guidi said he felt like “everything was lost” in the final 30 minutes of the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa when his Iron Lynx Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 was put on the back foot amid a deluge of rain.
Pier Guidi lost the lead of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup and Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli enduro due to a perfectly-timed pit stop to wet tires for the second-placed No. 32 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo of Dries Vanthoor.
The Ferrari factory driver stayed on track for one additional lap before switching to wets, prior to a Full Course Yellow and safety car intervention that resulted in a 27-minute shootout to the finish.
“We led the race for most of the time,” said Pier Guidi. “In the last half an hour everything looked lost.
“After the restart, I gave everything. I had no choice. I tried and when I had the possibility, I had just one shot and was able to go in the lead again and achieve such an amazing result for Ferrari, Iron Lynx.
“We really wanted this hard and worked very hard to be competitive. Finally we had the possibility to fight.
“It’s an incredible feeling. I think it will take a bit of time to understand what we did.”
Pier Guidi got around Vanthoor’s Audi at Blanchimont with nine minutes to go to give Ferrari its first victory in the Belgian endurance classic since 2004 and the first non-German manufacturer to win the event in the GT3 era.
“To be honest, maybe it was the most difficult turn but because Dries made a small mistake at Stavelot, I had more speed in the exit,” he explained. “I was side-by-side and was there.
“When you stay behind and you follow in the high-speed corner and you lose the front, it’s difficult to stay close. Then in the rain, you almost see nothing.
“I don’t know why. My feeling was saying I had to go.”
It marked the Italian’s first overall 24 Hours of Spa victory in the car he shared with Come Ledogar and fellow Ferrari factory driver Nicklas Nielsen.
“I tried many times to win this amazing race,” said Pier Guidi. “I’ve been two times overall in second. I won two times in Pro-Am but it’s not the same feeling.
“You want to be in front of everyone at the end of the 24-hour.”
Nielsen admitted that he was “unsure” when the rain arrived after a controlling run for the No. 51 Ferrari in the second half of the race while largely under dry conditions.
“It seemed like Ale had everything under control,” the Dane said. “It was an amazing race. I think we can be really, really proud of what we were able to achieve.
“This is probably a race you have an opportunity to win once in your life. We’ve just done it. It’s definitely something we’ll enjoy now and in the future.”
Cannizzo: Rain Came Earlier Than Expected
Ferrari Competizioni GT technical director Ferdinando Cannizzo said that the rain arrived sooner than they expected, leading to Pier Guidi completing one extra lap in full wet conditions.
“Right after it [started] to rain, we didn’t know exactly how wet it was,” he told Sportscar365. “I think we made a mistake because if we had pitted right after… [Vanthoor] had a very good out lap.
“When we saw the Full Course Yellow we were expecting a safety car and we were not in a bad position with just a few cars between us and the leader.
He added: “I think we were expecting the Full Course Yellow to come earlier because there were ten cars [spinning]. If this would have happened, we would have had time to pit, get tires and stay in front.
“Knowing the ability of Alessandro, we started believing it would be possible. And he did a very impressive job.”
Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report