Davide Rigon says he didn’t expect to be able to score Ferrari’s first overall Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup win in six years at Silverstone on Sunday, after struggling with pace on the faster parts of the track.
The Italian combined with Miguel Molina and Mikhail Aleshin to claim victory in the AF Corse-run SMP Racing Ferrari 488 GT3, after he passed Giovanni Venturini for the lead with 17 minutes on the clock.
SMP had come close to winning on several occasions in the past couple of seasons, but bad luck had always prevented it, Aleshin told Sportscar365 at Monza.
“There were two years where often we were there on top and close to winning, especially last year in Paul Ricard when we were leading easily, and then we had a failure on the front tire,” Rigon told Sportscar365 after winning on Sunday.
“There were a few races when I think we were very close to doing it, and here, actually we didn’t expect it because our balance was not as good.
“Our target is to stay on top in this championship, I have a clear order from my boss at Ferrari that we really want this championship because it’s the best GT3 championship!”
Rigon was part of the lineup that scored Ferrari’s last overall Blancpain GT Endurance Cup win at Monza in 2013, co-driving a Kessel Racing-run 458 Italia GT3 with Cesar Ramos and Daniel Zampieri.
The Italian brand has won in Blancpain GT Sprint competition since then, most recently with Rinaldi Racing at Misano in 2015.
Rigon admitted that the car didn’t feel as fast as the Lamborghinis at Silverstone, which led most of the race between the pole-sitting Grasser Racing Team car and the two lead Orange 1 FFF Racing Team entries.
“Our lap time was nothing special, we were fast but not as much as the Lamborghini, they were better than us,” he explained.
“It came when we didn’t expect it so we’re very, very happy.
“It’s difficult to overtake on this track, especially with our Ferrari. It’s good in corners but in a straight line it’s not that fast.”
As a result, Rigon had planned to make a move on Venturini at Village or The Loop, the slowest part of the track, and was surprised when he was able to get past at Luffield.
“I was really on the limit and I was hoping there would be some lapped cars but there were not,” he said.
“In high-speed corners, he was faster and in slow-speed corners, I was faster. It was not easy. I think overtaking him in [Luffield] was also a surprise for me, because I saw a space and now I went.
“It was not where I was thinking about doing it, I was thinking about doing it in T13 or T14 (Village and The Loop), where I felt stronger than him. I’m super happy for this victory.”