Dramatic moments in Paul Ricard
Rinaldi Racing traveled with two Ferrari 488 GT3 to the third round of the Blancpain Endurance Series in Paul Ricard. On the car with the starting number 333 Alexander Mattschull, Rinat Salikhov, and Luca Ludwig. The sister car was driven by Pierre Ehret, Rory Penttinen, and Rick Yoon. Also, Rinaldi Racing participated with one Ferrari 488 GT3 in the GT Sports Club with Christian Hook.
On Saturday morning, the qualifying started with beautiful sunny weather. There, the #333 reached the third place in the ProAm class, the #488 the fourth position in Am class.
On Saturday, at 17.45 o’clock, the six hours race started for the 51 GT3 cars. Luca Ludwig had a dream start, where he overtook ten cars and took over the lead in the ProAm class. Until his first pit stop, Ludwig maintained the lead and had a gap of five seconds. The #488 with Rick Yoon behind the steering wheel kept out of trouble at the start and found himself on the sixth position in the Am class.
At the first mandatory pit stop, Rinat Salikhov took over the steering wheel of the Ferrari 488 GT3 of the #333, on the #488 it was Pierre Ehret. Rinat Salikhov increased the gap on the runner-up in ProAm class. Pierre Ehret gained one position. After the next pit stop, Alexander Mattschull maintained the lead in the ProAm class. On the #488, Rory Penttinen reduced the gap to the position in front of him due to good lap times.
Then, the drama began. While the #333 was leading, another car hit him in the last turn, so that Luca Ludwig could not resume the race. A body blow, considering that the #333 was leading the ProAm class for the last four hours. Rory Penttinen drove the last stint on the #488. He crossed the finish line as fifth in the Am class.
Michele Rinaldi: „A really disappointing weekend. The #333 showed such a good performance and in the four hours, while driving, we did not lose the lead in the ProAm class. But that is racing. The drivers on the #488 assure more and more. I am sure that we will make another step forward in Spa.“
In the Blancpain GT Sports Club, Christian Hook could repeat his result of the qualifying from Monza and reached the second position overall. Already at the start, he was directly behind the leader. Both increased the gap to their opponents and at the end Hook finished the race as second overall. Unfortunately, the leader and Hook got a penalty due to a wrong start procedure.
However, Christian Hook did not put off and started from the sixth row in the second race. Already at the start, he overtook some opponents and started his catch-up race. Hook showed his skills with great overtaking maneuvers and moved forward to the fourth position. Some laps before the end, another car crashed into the Ferrari and Hook lost some precious seconds. But, at the end, Christian Hook crossed the finish line as fifth overall and second in his class.