Ferrari takes clean sweep in GTE classes at Portimão
Ferrari claimed a clear 1-2 finish in the LMGTE Pro category at the 8 Hours of Portimão to take the lead of the World Endurance GTE Manufacturers' Championship from Porsche.
The No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari pairing of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi led the majority of the race after Calado hunted down the pole-sitting No. 92 Porsche driven by Neel Jani in the second hour.
It meant that Ferrari took a conclusive win to bring birthday cheer for James Calado, who celebrated his 32nd birthday in the best manner possible - with champagne on the podium.
The victory though was hard-fought as the AF Corse Ferrari team had to contend with blistering on the Ferrari 488 GTE EVO’s tyres throughout the race as temperatures at the Algarve International Circuit soared.
#Tifosi, send some love to @Ale_PierGuidi and @JamesCalado51!#WEC #8HPortimao @FerrariRaces @AFCorse pic.twitter.com/7t3oIZ5S9z— WEC (@FIAWEC) June 13, 2021
However, both Calado and Pier Guidi were able to manage the challenges expertly and despite some final hour fuel-saving they were able to claim the bumper 38 points and vault Kevin Estre and Neel Jani in to the lead of the points standings.
Ferrari’s successful day was rounded off when the No.52 car driven by Miguel Molina and Daniel Serra also hunted down the No.92 Porsche in the fourth hour and followed its sister car home for a deserved 1-2.
This was settled in the final hour when the Ferrari was able to complete its final stop under a full-course yellow period which finally repelled the No.92 Porsche in its efforts to fight them off.
Porsche placed third and fourth as, like Porsche it struggled with some tyre blistering in the early and middle stages of the race.
This meant it was powerless to defend from the attacking Ferraris and ensured that Kevin Estre, Neel Jani and Michael Christensen had to settle for third position. The other Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Gianmaria Bruni, Richard Lietz and Frederic Makowiecki completed the order in fourth place.
Cetilar Racing victorious with Ferrari in LMGTE Am
There was a double celebration for Ferrari as the Cetilar Racing squad took a popular first class win in the FIA WEC with its distinctive blue 488 GTE Evo machine.
Roberto Lacorte, Giorgio Sernagiotto and Antonio Fuoco powered to victory to become the first ever all-Italian trio to win in GTE Am with a Ferrari.
It was a fierce battle throughout the duration of the race with multiple leaders at varying stages but it ultimately came down to a straight fight between the Cetilar Ferrari and the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche of Riccardo Pera, Egidio Perfetti and Matteo Cairoli.
After excellent stints by both team owner Lacorte and Sernagiotto, it was left to Fuoco to fight wheel-to-wheel with both Cairoli and then Pera in the final exchanges.
The Porsche at one stage appeared to have the win in the bag but a late race penalty for an incident with the Real Racing Team LMP2 car was applied and meant Cetilar were able to win by just 5.8 seconds.
Completing the LMGTE Am podium was the No.54 AF Corse Ferrari driven by Francesco Castellacci, Thomas Flohr and Giancarlo Fisichella. They claimed their best result since the 8 Hours of Sebring in Match 2019.
Next on the FIA WEC calendar is the 6 Hours of Monza (16-18 July).
Click HERE for race results.
Click HERE for provisional standings.