As anticipated, Ferrari endured a less than brilliant qualifying for the Shanghai 6 Hours in the GTE-Pro class. Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado in the 488 GTE no. 51, along with their AF Corse teammates Davide Rigon and Sam Bird, found the going tough in a session where the times were bunched and they finished down the standings. Both crews suffered from the car’s low straight speed, although the wet conditions forecast for Sunday will make for an unpredictable race. The 488 GTE no. 54 of Spirit of Race enjoyed an excellent qualifying session, with Giancarlo Fisichella and Thomas Flohr third fastest. Clearwater Racing also qualified well, with Ferrari no. 61 sixth on the grid, while MR Racing will set off back in ninth.
GTE-Pro. In GTE-Pro class, Alessandro Pier Guidi and Davide Rigon, respectively, started the session in cars no. 51 and 71. The world champion clocked 1:59.401 on his first attempt and then decided to return to the pits to hand over to James Calado. Davide Rigon stopped the clock at 2:00.019 and likewise chose to cede the 488 GTE no. 71 to Sam Bird. Calado, in no. 51, also set his best time of 1:59.508 at the first attempt, for a combined average of 1:59.454. Sam Bird was the fastest of the four Ferrari drivers recording his best time on the second attempt. After a decent 1:59.451 on his first lap, the British driver followed up with an excellent 1:59.359, for an combined average time of 1:59.689. The Ferraris will start from fifth row on the grid, while pole position went to Ford no. 66 driven by Stefan Mücke and Olivier Pla in 1:58.627.
GTE-Am. In the GTE-Am class, Giancarlo Fisichella made his experience count, helping the 488 GTE of Spirit of Race to qualify in third place. The two-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans came in at 2:00.228 before handing over to Thomas Flohr whose 2:03.900 made for an combined average time of 2:02.090. The Ferrari of Clearwater Racing was sixth fastest with Weng Sun Mok, who recorded 2:03.997 on his last FIA WEC qualifying session, which Matt Griffin then reduced to 2:02.400. The 488 GTE of MR Racing will set off in ninth, driven in qualifying by Motoaki Ishikawa and Eddie Cheever III with a combined time of 2:04.648. Pole position in the class went to the Aston Martin of Dalla Lana-Lamy-Lauda who set a time of 2:01.884, while the Toyota of Conway-Kobayashi-Lopez took overall pole in 1:42.931. The race starts at 11 am local time (4 am CET).