Awesome weekend for Rinaldi Racing
For Rinaldi Racing, it was the final round of the Blancpain Sprint Series at the Nürburgring. At the home race, the team from Mendig started with two Ferrari 488 GT3. The driver line-ups on the car with the starting number 333 was Alexander Mattschull and Daniel Keilwitz and on the 488 Rinat Salikhov and Matteo Malucelli.
At this final, the starting number 333 was fighting for the championship in the ProAm class. The team had a gap from 10 points and the drivers were happy about a gap from 13 points.
On Saturday morning, during the first qualifying, Mattschull and Salikhov reached the first two positions in class. In the second qualifying, Keilwitz convinced with a great second position overall and first position in class. Unfortunately, the sister car did not have such luck: both times, the lap was canceled due to a red flag. Therefore, it was just enough for the fifth position in class. During the third qualifying, Keilwitz positioned the car on the fifth position overall and the pole on the ProAm class. An important starting position in the first race for the championship, because the competitors were left far behind.
At the qualifying race, Keilwitz had a great start from the third row and secured the second position overall just after the first turn. Indeed, he had to give back this position in the next turn, but he kept the third position overall due to a constant speed. Now, the goal was to keep the gap for the lead in the class. Malucelli on his part kept his position and moved forward to his direct competitors. After the pit stop, Mattschull extended the lead in class. On the #488, Salikhov won some positions and grabbed the hardest competitor of the #333 after an awesome overtaking maneuver. So, Rinaldi Racing cheered for a double podium in the ProAm class. A great result in the qualifying race with regard to the main race on Sunday.
On Sunday, the nerves were stretched. Nevertheless, the team focused on the race. Although the team increased the gap (team 13 points and drivers 18 points gap), nothing was left to chance.
At the start of the main race on Sunday, both cars had a good start. Unfortunately, the team received a radio message from the #488 with tire damage. Rejoining the track, the #488 dropped back to the fifth position in the ProAm class and that is why this car could not give support to the sister car any longer. In contrast, for the #333, everything went like clockwork. Until the pit stop, Mattschull kept the lead in the ProAm class. Now, the last half an hour of the race started and the nail-biter began. The lap times of the Ferrari were good and Keilwitz kept out of trouble. The last ten minutes seemed like forever and the whole team looked forward excitedly to the end of the race. At the end, Rinaldi Racing jubilated not only for the podium but also for the win of the team and driver championship in the ProAm class in the Sprint Series.
We can also congratulate Alexander Mattschull for the win of the Blancpain GT Series overall ProAm driver championship.
Michele Rinaldi: „That was a really important weekend for us. Saturday was perfect with the double podium. The Sunday was nerve-racking, but we did everything right. Thank you to the whole team, who has done an amazing job during the whole season. Also a big thank you to the drivers, Alexander Mattschull and Daniel Keilwitz. It was nice to see how they increased their performance during the year. Also, we want to thank our partners and fans that supported us during the whole season. Also, kudos to our partner and biggest opponent Kessel Racing. Over the whole season, the collaboration was very strong and on track, they always were a fair opponent. Also, thank you to Michelotto – the Ferrari 488 GT3 is a great racing car. Ferrari is the only brand with which you can live customer racing.