The third round of the Blancpain Endurance Series GT Cup was held at the Paul Ricard Circuit in the south of France this Saturday. For all the teams taking part in the championship, this was an important race in its own right, at the track that returns to the Formula 1 calendar next year, but it was also meant to be a great way to prepare for the upcoming highlight of the championship, the Spa 24 Hours race.
This year, Kaspersky Motorsport has stepped up to the PRO class, with its driver line-up of Giancarlo Fisichella, James Calado and Marco Cioci, which means the stakes are higher and the learning curve steeper.
The team was expecting this to be a tough event, so everyone was delighted with the way qualifying went, given that most of the track time in pre-qualifying was lost, as the team rushed to make a gearbox change. Therefore for Giancarlo to qualify seventh on the grid was a great result and it put everyone in an optimistic mood. The early stages of the race already required the appearance of the Safety Car and the decision was taken to pit Fisichella, change tyres and for Cioci to get behind the wheel. Marco was the author of some spectacular passing moves prior to handing over the Ferrari 488 GT to James Calado. It was while the Englishman was at the wheel that a terminal engine failure meant the race was over for Kaspersky Motorsport.
Giancarlo Fisichella: “That was a hard race for the whole team, very frustrating. I was hoping for a much better result today. We tried our best but things didn’t go our way. Thanks to the mechanics for their hard work to get the car back out after the issue yesterday; they did a great job all night. Hopefully we can move forward in the next races. I know everyone will be pushing for this.”
James Calado: “If you have an electrical problem with an engine then there’s a chance of fixing it, but when it’s the actual hardware that fails there’s nothing to be done. We can still find some positives from this weekend, because we worked well as a team and the mechanics really did a good job to overcome some of the technical issues we had during practice. It’s the right sort of spirit that we need to move forward.”
Marco Cioci: “It’s really frustrating for the whole team. We didn’t make any mistakes in terms of our driving. However, this is the result today and so we need to look into the causes of our various problems in order to ensure they do not recur.”
A frustrating end to this 6 Hour race, held in unusually hot conditions. Now it’s time to prepare for the Belgian classic, the Total 24 Hours of Spa, which takes place from 27 to 30 July, with a pre-race test day on 4 July at the daunting road circuit.
Source. Kaspersky Motorsport