James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi will start out from the first row of LMGTE Pro class on occasion of the 6 Hours of Fuji, second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, due to get underway tomorrow at 11:00 local time.
LMGTE Pro. The Ferrari 488 GTE crew concluded the session in second place by virtue of a 1’37”397 time, obtained from the average times performed by Alessandro Pier Guidi (1’37”292), who went out on track first and by James Calado (1’37”503) who completed the stint. Barely 41 milliseconds separated the pair aboard the #51 AF Corse from pole-sitters Bruni-Lietz in the Porsche. The #71 Ferrari courtesy of Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina, meanwhile, finished the qualifying in fourth place, some 436 milliseconds short of the best time. The first to tackle the 4563-metre Japanese track was Davide Rigon (1’37”356) who later handed over to Miguel Molina (1’38”048).
LMGTE Am. The third grid spot, for the fastest of the 488 GTE entrants in the class, went to #83 AF Corse. Driven in qualifying by Nicklas Nielsen (1’37”944) and François Perrodo (1’39”756), the Ferrari notched up a combined time of 1’38”850 delivering the third starting-position, 117 milliseconds shy of the pole position claimed by Keating-Fraga-Bleekemolen in the Porsche. Seventh position for the #54 sister car of Fisichella-Flohr-Castellacci with the first two undertaking the session to record 1’39”291. Fifth and sixth row went to the Ferrari crews of MR Racing and Red River Sport respectively. The first saw Olivier Beretta and Motoaki Ishikawa register 1’39”628, the tenth-best time, while the latter with Johnny Mowlem and Bonamy Grimes took the eleventh fastest qualifying time at 1’39”889.
Alessandro Pier Guidi: “It’s really a shame to have missed out on the pole position by so few thousandths-of-a-second, but I’m glad that in the end we managed to find a good set-up for the car. The gap that separates us from the pole postion is minimal and I think I lost precious milliseconds talking on the radio because it seemed that they had cancelled my lap due to failure to respect the track limits, an infringement that I had not committed. I am confident for tomorrow’s race because we made the right choice, in my opinion, using one less set of tyres than the others. There remains the uncertainty linked to the weather because rain is expected tomorrow, although I think I can say that we are even ready for that eventuality.”
James Calado: “It didn’t go badly, especially considering the problems in finding the optimal set-up for the car on Friday. We really struggled a lot, which is quite unusual because normally we can always start from a good set-up base. What matters most is that we were able to find a good feeling with the car at the right time; even if we have to wait for further checks to be sure that we really have taken the right path. We know that the Porsche cars are faster in the race, but we can take a chance with the strategy and then we’ll see how it plays out. I have faith in the work of Alessandro and the team and I know that we will have a great race together. At Silverstone we had important points taken away which we will try and make up while aiming for a victory.”
Davide Rigon: ”It’s a pity that my fastest lap, made on my fourth lap, was cancelled because I don’t think I exceeded the track limits, but we didn’t object because the position would not have changed in the end. I am happy with the set-up that we were able to find because in free practice we were having quite a bit of difficulty. Precisely for that reason, we thought we were further behind in qualifying, so we adopted a more conservative approach, aimed at the race, not attacking and trying to save a set of tyres. In the end we are not too far from the front-runners, we start from a good position and we can rely on an interesting race pace. Rain will play a decisive role on the final result, but we remain positive and confident to reshuffle the standings.”
Miguel Molina: ”Qualifying went better than we had expected because yesterday we did not have a satisfactory set-up and therefore we thought we were less competitive. Today we recovered our performance and we are closer to the front-runners, so we are happy about that. We made a brave choice of tyres, saving a set, so we hope not to see things thwarted by the rain.”