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The Ferrari 499P of Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina and Nicklas Nielsen finished second at the 6 Hours of Portimão, the first European round of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The sixth place of the other Prancing Horse Hypercar, driven by Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Antonio Giovinazzi, rounded off the weekend. Ferrari said goodbye to Portugal after achieving the target of finishing with both cars entered in the top class.

The race took place in dry conditions and temperatures of over 27°C. The number 50 car was consistently at the top of the standings, with the Danish driver taking the first stint at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve. Molina consolidated second place in the middle section before handing the wheel to his Italian teammate, who crossed the chequered flag one lap behind the number 8 Toyota.

However, early on, their Ferrari – AF Corse teammates in the other 499P were affected by a glitch in the brake-by-wire system. Despite the intervention of the mechanics in the pit, two hours and twenty minutes into the race, a problem with the braking system on the front axle slowed the pace of the car that the three-time world champions Pier Guidi and Calado shared with Giovinazzi. This cut short a comeback that had lifted the trio to third in the final stages. The no 51 drivers’ skill in handling the car allowed them to complete the race and come away with eight points.

Ferrari leaves Portimão with a second podium finish in two races after a third place at Sebring. The World Championship will return to the spotlight on 29 April with the 6 Hours of Spa in Belgium.

Nicklas Nielsen, 499P #50: “We are delighted. We secured a very positive result here at Portimão, taking another step forward from the first race at Sebring. We were also lucky during the race when one of the two Toyotas had a problem and, at that point, did our best and consolidated second position. Now the goal is to continue on this path at the 6 Hours of Spa, a race that will be both beautiful and complicated.”

James Calado, 499P #51: “I am disappointed with the result. We had a brake problem when Antonio climbed into the Hypercar, and for most of the race, we tried to manage it. It’s a shame because we could have aimed for the podium up to that point. Our pace was good compared to the other cars. We’re trying to stay positive and are already thinking about the next outing in Belgium.”

Antonello Coletta, Head of Attività Sportive GT: “Second place represents an excellent performance and a further step forward over the third step of the podium on the debut. We know there’s still a long way to go, and our opponents are very strong. Here at Portimão, we had a problem with the 499P number 51 that stopped us from finishing with a double podium, which would have been an outstanding result. We go away happy but aware that we must continue to work, especially on reliability.”

Ferdinando Cannizzo, Head of GT & Sports Race Cars: “We are satisfied with second place, but at the same time, it’s a shame that we had a few problems with the number 51 car, which meant we had to manage the race. Both 499Ps made it to the finish line, which is a positive result, but our lost positions prevented us from climbing the podium with both crews. There is still much work to be done before we can aim for victory, so we’ll have to stay focused and work hard.”

Source. Ferrari


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