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Caldarelli: FFF Ready to Rebound from Monza Retirement Issue

Paul Ricard “very important” race for Monza pole-sitter FFF after round one retirement…

Photo: Jules Benichou/SRO

Andrea Caldarelli says that Orange 1 FFF Racing Team has addressed and can rebound from the issue that derailed its lead at the 3 Hours of Monza, during the second Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup round at Paul Ricard.

The FFF Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo that Caldarelli shares with Marco Mapelli and Mirko Bortolotti took pole in Italy, but its advantage only lasted around half an hour.

A mysterious fuel cut-out resulted in Bortolotti crawling the car out of the pit lane from its first stop, before it was ultimately retired as a direct consequence of the problem.

“We had an interesting weekend,” Caldarelli told Sportscar365. “It was sweet and sour, really. We started very well with the qualifying. The car was quite good.

“Then in the race we had a failure after the pit stop, which was very unexpected because we’ve never had it before. When you experience trouble like that for the first time, there’s nothing really much you can do at the time.

“But we made sure to check everything when the car came back, taking everything out of the car and changing all the pieces that we thought could be a problem.

“We had some sort of fuel cut, in terms of electronics. We still don’t know what it exactly was and we have never figured it out.

“It’s like at home when your Wi-Fi doesn’t work and you change everything and it starts to work, but you don’t really know what it was. It was something that we didn’t have before, as a team.

“We did a few tests after that. Not proper tests, because we’ve been busy with the Nürburgring 24 program, but we brought the cars for a shakedown a few times. We just made sure that they were OK. We had a flawless two or three days back in Italy.”

Caldarelli indicated that the failure to finish at Monza has made this weekend’s Paul Ricard 1000km race even more crucial in terms of the Endurance Cup championship.

2019 champion FFF was one of several key entries to retire from the first round, along with the No. 32 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo and the GPX Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R.

“This weekend is very important,” said Caldarelli. “The championship is only five races, so we know that we have to score points, especially if it’s a six-hour race.”

Cardarelli reckons Paul Ricard is a suitable track for the Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.

“In 2019 we finished on the podium and in 2020 we finished on the podium,” he said.

“We have always missed the win. We know there are a couple of competitors like Bentley and Ferrari that have always been very quick here.

“We are not expecting anything much different. We have always had a competitive car – not always the quickest – but we know in which areas we have to work on, especially in sectors one and two. That’s going to be our focus for this weekend.

“This track, since they changed the tarmac the last few years, we never really had big tire degradation. Definitely we’re going to be focused on a very consistent and easy car to drive for the race. In terms of tire degradation, I’m not too concerned.

“We have to be quite careful in the first few laps with heavy fuel, to preserve the tires. But in the past we didn’t have much issue.

“Last year we finished third. It was our strongest race of the season after the issue we had in Spa. Hopefully we should be good again.”

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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