After finishing fourth in the opening round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Monza three weeks ago, the Kaspersky Motorsport team was back in action for Round 2 today at another historic venue, the Silverstone Circuit in the UK.
Driving the green, white and red Ferrari 488 GT3, prepared by AF Corse, the trio made up of Italians Giancarlo Fisichella and Marco Cioci and Englishman James Calado were in optimistic mood going into the event.
However, this was not to be a successful weekend and the final result – a disappointing 23rd place – didn’t live up to expectations, nor did it reflect what our talented trio is capable of. At least prequalifying on Saturday did go well and the #55 car was fastest, but qualifying itself on Sunday morning set the tone for the rest of a difficult day. Marco Cioci was first to try his hand at the quick lap and was second quickest, but when it was Giancarlo Fisichella’s turn, he got caught out in some traffic – did we mention there were over 50 cars on track – and set the fourth best time. Then, when James Calado, looking forward to a good weekend in his homeland, got behind the wheel, not only did he encounter traffic, he also could not push flat out as yellow flags were waved for another incident.
It meant that Kaspersky Motorsport would start the second round of the Blancpain Endurance Championship from 13th place on the grid: not what we had expected after all three drivers had felt the Ferrari was working really well and everyone was pleased with the setups they had dialled into the Prancing Horse car.
However, Marco Cioci was given a penalty for apparently jumping the start and there were two more to come. They were handed out to Fisichella for collisions with a Bentley and a McLaren. Certainly, when it comes to the first of these infringements, the team, while of course accepting the decision of the stewards, because there is no point contesting it, feels it was unfairly treated as Giancarlo had placed our car completely inside the other car. However, this is motorsport and so we just move on.
Giancarlo Fisichella: “It was a difficult race and I have mixed feelings to be honest. It’s a great track with a lot of history, especially in endurance racing. The fans are real motorsport enthusiasts and we usually see a big crowd. Today has been challenging! The whole team is motivated and determined for this season. We wanted to win, there is no doubt about that, but we know it would be a tough fight. The result is disappointing because we could have had a good result. We showed our performance and we will come back stronger for the next race”.
James Calado: “Silverstone is my home race, a track I’ve raced on many, many times. We are here to win races so that was the target today. It was a tricky race especially with traffic but we had a competitive car and we arrived there well prepared. It was challenging as always in Blancpain races, but we wanted to show what we could do. The whole team performed well and fought right to the chequered flag. Of course it is disappointing not to have a car on the podium but I am proud of the team for their determination and fighting spirit today, particularly the mechanics who worked at such speed. Now I’m ready to fight back at Paul Ricard!”
Marco Cioci: “It was a dramatic race; I hope the fans enjoyed it. We got three drive-through penalties. These things can happen in endurance racing but it’s really frustrating for me and the car crew. On the plus side, it’s been a very productive weekend from a technical point of view; having the chance to get data with the #55 car is helpful for our Paul Ricard preparations. A tough weekend but we had a good car so now we look forward to the next race”.
And that next race takes place at Paul Ricard on 24th June.
Source. Kasperski Motorsport/Photos. John Patterson