The 6 Hours of Bahrain, the penultimate round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, ended with third place for the 488 GTE crewed by Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado. The final result was conditioned by the power reduction due to the Balance of Performance announced on the eve of the race. In the LMGTE Am class, no Ferrari crew made the podium for the first time this season.
LMGTE Pro. In a race with no thrills or surprises, apart from three Full Course Yellows which did not allow any radical changes in the standings, and with a predictable outcome, the two AF Corse 488 GTEs driven by Pier Guidi-Calado and Molina-Serra completed the six hours in third and fourth position. The two Ferraris raced in tandem at the same pace, gradually losing ground to the Porsches of Estre-Jani, the winner of the race, and Bruni-Lietz, who easily controlled the pace, leaving the Ferraris more than 35 seconds behind at the finish line, despite an extra stop. This result wiped out the 51’s advantage going into Bahrain, and now Pier Guidi and Calado are only a length ahead of Estre-Jani. However, Ferrari now has to chase Porsche, one point ahead in the constructors’ championship.
LMGTE Am. The fifth final position secured by the championship leaders, François Perrodo, Nicklas Nielsen and Alessio Rovera, despite an impeccable outing, reduces the AF Corse crew’s advantage over their closest pursuers – the race winners, Fraga-Pereira-Keating in an Aston Martin – to 21.5 points ahead of the last race. This result was also affected by the reduction in power and the performance ballast based on the results achieved so far, with three victories, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Four Ferraris occupied the positions from seventh, with the #54 of Flohr-Fisichella-Castellacci, to tenth with the #47 of Cetilar Racing of Lacorte-Sernagiotto-Fuoco. In between came the 488 GTE of the “Iron Dames” Legge-Frey-Bovy, who had a solid run, and the Kessel Racing car with Kimura-Andrews-Jensen at the wheel. The second Iron Lynx car, which had secured pole position with Mastronardi, was forced back to the pits for a few laps after a contact in the early stages, finishing in twelfth.
Appointments. The season’s last race will be decisive for the destination of the world titles up for grabs in the LMGTE Pro and Am classes. The 8 Hours of Bahrain, which will award extra points, will be run on Saturday 6 November, in the same format used for today’s 6 Hours, starting at 2pm local time.
Antonello Coletta: “As mentioned on the eve of the race, the Balance of Performance proved to be particularly punitive to our cars, as confirmed by the race pace and the result of this six-hour event. We regret not being able to defend the leadership acquired on previous occasions, the result of always beautiful and exciting races. We hope that the correct criteria for the BoP will be restored in the last race so that we can try to fight on equal terms for the world titles”.
James Calado: “I am obviously disappointed because today we weren’t put in a position to fight for the championship. This decision can drastically change the standings, and it is a pity that a season’s worth of work by Ferrari, AF Corse, Alessandro and myself is in danger of being undone. Third place was the best we could aim for today, as I said before the race started. The Porsches could race without taking risks or exploiting their full potential. We hope that they will at least reinstate the Monza BoP, which produced an evenly contested race that was spectacular for the public, something that cannot be said of today’s race”.
Alessandro Pier Guidi: “We were not put in a position to compete on equal terms with our opponents, and that is disappointing. In every race, we have always given our best, always exploiting our car’s potential, and I don’t think this should come back to haunt us. I don’t think it’s good for the sport”.