Rinaldi Racing travelled to the third round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Paul Ricard with two Ferrari 488 GT3s.

Driving the car with the starting number 333 were Alexander Mattschull, Rinat Salikhov and Luca Ludwig. The steering wheel work on the sister car was shared by Pierre Ehret, Rory Penttinen and Rick Yoon. Rinaldi Racing also fielded a Ferrari 488 GT3 in the GT Sports Club with Christian Hook.

Qualifying started on Saturday morning in glorious summer weather. The #333 secured third place in the ProAm class, the #488 fourth in the Am class.

The six-hour race for the 51 GT3 cars got underway at 17.45 on Saturday. Luca Ludwig got off to a dream start in the #333, overtaking ten cars at once and thus also taking the lead in the ProAm class. Ludwig maintained the lead until the first regular pit stop and built up a five-second advantage. The #488 with Rick Yoon at the wheel managed to stay out of everything at the start and found itself in sixth place in the Am class.

At the first pit stop, Rinat Salikhov in the #333 took the wheel of the Ferrari 488 GT3, while in the #488 it was Pierre Ehret. Rinat Salikhov was able to extend his lead over the runner-up in class even further. Pierre Ehret was able to make up one position during his stint. After another mandatory pit stop, Alexander Mattschull was able to keep the lead in the ProAm class. On the #488, Rory Penttinen was able to reduce the lead over the next placed in class by good lap times.

Then, unfortunately, misfortune struck. While leading, the #333 was shot down by an opponent in the last corner, so that Luca Ludwig had to park the car. A bitter setback, as the team had already held the first position in the ProAm class for the last four hours. Rory Penttinen took over the final stint on the #488. Despite good lap times, it was only enough for fifth place in the Am classification in the end.

Michele Rinaldi: “A really disappointing weekend. The #333 performed so well and for the first four hours, we didn’t relinquish the lead in the ProAm class. But that’s motorsport, unfortunately. The drivers on the #488 are convincing more and more. I’m sure we will make another step forward in Spa.”

In the Blancpain GT Sports Club, Christian Hook repeated his qualifying result from Monza and secured second overall. In the first race, he stayed close behind his rival right at the start. Both were able to pull clear of the field. In the end, it was a great second place. Unfortunately, just like the first place, this was penalised with a time penalty due to an early start.

Nevertheless, Christian Hook was not discouraged and started the second race from the sixth row of the grid.  Right at the start, he was able to overtake some opponents and then set off on a race to catch up. With great overtaking manoeuvres, Hook was able to show his skills on the track and finished in fourth place. A few laps before the end, an opponent drove into his car. He lost valuable seconds in the process. Nevertheless, Christian Hook crossed the finish line in fifth place and also secured second place in his class.