To round off the 2017 racing season, Rinaldi Racing travelled to Abu Dhabi for the 12h race.

The Ferrari 488 GT3 with the drivers Rinat Salikhov, Marco Seefried and Norbert Siedler was among them.

The race was held in Abu Dhabi for the seventh time. The starting field consisted of 26 cars – GT3, LMP3 and various smaller groups of cars taken to the grid.

In the four free practice sessions, all drivers were able to get used to the track conditions, with Rinat Salikhov being present on this track for the first time. Even in the obligatory night practice, the team was always able to stay in the top 10. In qualifying on Friday afternoon, the #33 car finished eighth overall.

On Saturday, the 12-hour race was on the agenda. The race was held 2 times six hours with a break in between.

Norbert Siedler started from the fourth row and was able to make up two places right after the first lap. During his stint Siedler was able to keep up with the speed of the front runners. After a good hour, Siedler headed for the pits for the first obligatory pit stop, where he handed over to Marco Seefried. Back on track, the team secured fourth place and the gap to the top was now only 45 seconds. Although Seefried managed to snatch third place, he had to pit for a puncture halfway through his stint. The pit crew quickly changed the tyre and sent Seefried out again – back to fifth place. At the next stop, Rinat Salikhov took the wheel of the Ferrari 488 GT3 and went out on track in fourth place. One and a half hours before the end of the race, the safety car came onto the track. The teams had to make the last compulsory stop one hour before the end of the race and this was forbidden under a safety car phase. Nevertheless, race control allowed the last stop to be made during the safety car phase. Through a good strategy, the team was able to gain a lot of time during their stop and came back on track in second place. Due to longer repair works, the first half of the race was finished under Safety Car. In the end, there were five cars that finished the race on the same lap. They were already more than a lap ahead of the rest of the field.

At the start of the second race, Norbert Siedler was again in the car, this time in second place. He was able to hold this position at the start. The Rinaldi Racing crew also did a good job at the following stops. Then, in the early evening, a brief moment of shock – rain set in. But it did not rain hard enough to change to rain tyres, so Seefried stayed on the track. The fight for the first three positions was fought between three cars. Again and again, they slipped from second to first and from second to third. Although Rinat Salikhov also drove very good lap times on the Ferrari, the gap to the first-placed car could not be reduced. At the fourth and last mandatory pit stop, Seefried took the wheel again. The gap to the first-placed driver was too big to catch him. But with a good speed, the lead over the third-placed LMP3 car could be kept constant. So Rinaldi Racing was happy about a great second overall place at the 12h race in Abu Dhabi.

Michele Rinaldi: “It was an absolutely thrilling race and we were rewarded with second place in the end. The drivers and team did a great job. Of course, it was difficult to prevail against Kessel Racing as they have already won here the last two years. We had great duels. We were able to win the race against the LMP3 cars and build a comfortable lead. A nice race result for our last race of the already very successful 2017 season. We would like to thank Rinat Salikhov very much for his great performance and for the great finish of the season together.”