The 89th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the oldest and most prestigious endurance race, the fourth round of the FIA WEC World Championship, was dominated by the 488 GTEs of AF Corse that won success in the LMGTE Pro and LMGTE Am class. In this category the podium was completed by the 488 GTE of Iron Lynx driven by the Italians Rino Mastronardi and Matteo Cressoni and by the Ferrari Driver Academy driver, Callum Ilott. The race started at 4 pm yesterday with an exceptional starter: Ferrari President John Elkann.
LMGTE Pro. After the triumph in 2019, Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado achieved a brilliant victory, leading the race for most of the scheduled 24 hours. The two, on this occasion, were assisted by Côme Ledogar who, together with Pier Guidi, recently made a name for himself at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. For the French driver, today’s one is the first triumph at Le Mans, while the two 2017 world champions climb to two. The trio fought for almost the entire race against the Corvette of Garcia-Taylor-Catsburg, managing to build a decisive advantage thanks to a better interpretation of the neutralization phases of the race. Once again unlucky, however, the race of the second AF Corse car, driven by Miguel Molina, Daniel Serra and Sam Bird. Car number 52 was widely vying for ultimate success before being forced to pit due to a problem with the left front suspension during the Spaniard’s driving session after 14 hours of racing. Subsequently, a puncture at Tertre Rouge in Sam Bird’s stint forced Ferrari to a new long stop. At that point the only goal became to reach the checkered flag, a goal centered in fifth position that allowed them to win important points for the championship in a test that offered twice the normal amount. With this in mind, Pier Guidi and Calado with today’s success climb to first position at 124 points, 12 more than Estre and Jani (Porsche), while Serra and Molina go up to 57. For AF Corse this is the fourth success in LMGTE Pro class after those won in 2012, 2014 and 2019. This is the 38th victory for the Prancing Horse in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, given the 29 class wins and 9 overall. For the 488 GTE, however, the claims in the classic French become three.
LMGTE Am. AF Corse’s first success in the LMGTE Am class of the 24 Hours of Le Mans comes at the end of a race that the crew of Nicklas Nielsen, François Perrodo and Alessio Rovera have shown that they can manage with clarity, coolness and talent, without letting go condition from the drive through that they were called to discount during the 24 hours. Also in this case, as in other WEC races, the reigning champions have confirmed that they want to aim for an encore of the title, well supported by the speed of Alessio Rovera, making his debut in this marathon. Rounding out the podium was the 488 GTE of Iron Lynx number 80 with Rino Mastronardi and Matteo Cressoni and the Ferrari Driver Academy driver, Callum Ilott. For the Englishman, who is also making his debut in this race, a crescendo of speed and confidence that only experience is able to give. Excellent fourth position for the crew of car number 60 deployed by the Italian team, with the experts Paolo Ruberti and Raffaele Giammaria alongside Claudio Schiavoni who, with this result, climbed several positions in the ranking. Ninth place for the last Ferrari deployed by Iron Lynx, entrusted to the ‘Iron Dames’ Rahel Frey, Michelle Gatting and Sarah Bovy who, also in this edition, managed to cross the finish line. Bad luck, manifested in the form of a drive shaft problem, removed the second AF Corse car from the battle for the podium, the number 54 driven by Giancarlo Fisichella (in his twelfth participation), Thomas Flohr and Francesco Castellacci. Even the 488 GTE of Inception Racing of Iribe-Millroy-Barnicoat at different stages of the race was present for a long time in the top positions, before being forced to stand still for many laps. Withdrawal, due to accidents or problems accused during the race, the other Ferraris registered in an edition that will remain in the history of the Prancing Horse.
Antonello Coletta (in charge of GT Ferrari activities): “It is another day full of satisfactions, just one month after the successes in the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in both the Pro and Pro-Am classes. Today at Le Mans we won the most important 24 hours, the mother of all endurance races in the world, once again establishing ourselves in the Pro and Am class. We are very satisfied and proud of our team and our drivers. We dominated the race from start to finish thanks to an excellent strategy from our AF Corse team which allowed us to celebrate once again a victory on this important track. This success is an incentive to do better and better especially in view of 2023 which will see us involved in the Hypercar class ”.
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