The curtain came down on the 2017 Blancpain Endurance Series GT Cup this weekend at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Spain. The final round of the season came to an end on Sunday, marking the conclusion of a year in the the PRO class for Kaspersky Motorsport with its driver line-up of Giancarlo Fisichella, James Calado and Marco Cioci.
The team was prepared for a tricky weekend after Marco suffered an ABS problem and went off during Saturday morning’s practice session, but the mechanics put in an excellent effort to repair the car and allow the team to take part in pre-qualifying.
The qualifying session also provided testing conditions but Marco, Giancarlo and James delivered a good performance in difficult circumstances, qualifying 17th after such limited practice despite some light rain and a red flag late on. With the team targeting the top ten, James climbed through to 11th place in the first hour, pulling off some strong overtaking moves in between a number of yellow flag periods. Handing the #55 over to Marco, the race settled down in the middle hour and when Giancarlo took over the Ferrari 488 GT he emerged in 17th place for the final stint. Climbing back towards the top ten, contact when trying to overtake the #48 Mercedes for 13th position resulted in a drive-through penalty for Giancarlo in the closing stages and dropped the car down the order.
Giancarlo Fisichella: “It has been a very tough season for our car. We had a number of good fights during the whole season and we were very competitive, but unfortunately, we couldn’t score the podium I feel we deserved this year. It’s a pity to end with fifth in the championship but we didn’t have the performance here that we hoped for. Congratulations to Mercedes for winning their last race in Blancpain Endurance Series. A big thanks to the whole team, I am proud of everyone in the team – the mechanics, engineers and my team-mates. They did a fantastic job. I have no regrets.”
James Calado: “I’m very sad to finish the season without a podium. It was a difficult race and year for us. Thanks to the Kaspersky Motorsport team and AF Corse for their hard work during the whole campaign. All the team did a great job; we enjoyed this year together and for me it was still a positive season.”
Marco Cioci: “Luck hasn’t gone our way this season. In the final race, here in Barcelona, we were hoping for more. It’s a sad way to end the season but it’s not been a great year for our #55 car. Everyone worked really hard, so I must say a big thanks to the team who put so much effort into this race and the whole year. We had the car and the speed but we missed something else – luck. So many things happened to us despite all the hard work and preparation; it was not enough I guess.”
Our other Kaspersky Motorsport car was meant to be racing in the GT Open Series at Monza this weekend, however a heavy crash in practice did too much damage for the car to be repaired in time and therefore the team was unable to start the race.
Source. Kaspersky Motorsport