AF Corse prevails in fast and furious GTE Am race
The LMGTE Pro category provided non-stop action between all three manufacturers represented in Saturday’s TOTAL 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, but it was the No.92 Porsche 911 RSR of Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre which claimed the laurels.
The LMGTE Pro category provided non-stop action between all three manufacturers represented in today’s TOTAL 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, and at the chequered flag it was the No.92 Porsche 911 RSR of Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre which claimed the laurels for the first time this season.
It was a first win for reigning champions Estre and Christensen since Fuji 2018, and a first Porsche victory from pole in GTE Pro since Team Felbermayr Proton at Fuji way back in 2012!
With several rainstorms and four Safety Car periods – the first 17 minutes of the race were run behind the Safety Car due to very heavy rain – bringing about different strategies, the Porsche came home ahead of the No.95 and No.97 Aston Martin Racing entries.
The Dane Train of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen in the No.97 crossed the line just 5.6s behind the winner, with the sister No.97 - which featured the only Belgian driver in the race, Maxime Martin, together with Briton Alex Lynn – taking the final podium spot.
Aston Martin Racing’s Team Principal confirmed during the race that a wrong wet weather tyre choice had hampered them in the first hour of heavy rain. Once resolved, the two Aston Martin Vantage AMRs performance was much improved and both cars were in contention for top spots.
All three manufacturers led the race at different stages and provided continual entertainment. Despite being at a power disadvantage following the latest BoP, the No.51 AF Corse Ferrari 588 GTE EVO was at the head of the field for much of the race thanks in large part of a marathon 4h 13 minute stint from Alessandro Pier Guidi, the Italian displaying some great driving skills in difficult conditions.
Many competitors were in fuel-saving mode in the final stages, trying to avoid having to make a final splash and dash, with the final SC period in the fifth hour undoubtedly helping some more than others.
LMGTE Am also provided plenty of action and lead changes but the supremely consistent No.83 AF Corse of François Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Nicklas Nielsen claimed victory after a hard six hours of action.
It was a second victory this season for the trio, and the No.83 became the first Ferrari to score multiple Am wins in a season since SMP Racing in 2015. The result stretches their lead at the head of the points table to 110 points, 12 ahead of third place finishers No.90 TF Sport.
Coming home second, after a race which saw them feature strongly at the start and then again in the final two hours, was the No.77 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR of Christian Ried, Riccardo Pera and Matt Campbell. The Australian was on a charge at the end and crossed the line just 2.8s behind the winner to give the team its best result of the season so far.
As said, the No.90 TF Sport Aston Martin of Salih Yoluc, Charlie Eastwood and Jonny Adam claimed the final podium spot and the result consolidated their position in the points standings with double points yet to come for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 1.5 points for the final round of the season in Bahrain.