After summer break in the Blancpain Sprint Series, Rinaldi Racing made a big impression in the fifth round of the popular GT3 Championship. On the 4,629 kilomtres long “Portimao Circuit” in Portugal, Marco Seefried and Norbert Siedler crossed the finish line of the one hour race in third position. The Rinaldi Racing pros in the only Ferrari (starting number 333) taking part in the race, prevailed against big-name competitors.
On Saturday, spectators watched an action-packed qualifying of over 60 minutes. Norbert Siedler, who had started from eighth position and lost one place in the initial phase, then went on to deliver a fierce battle with other competitors. Especially the thrilling duel with Audi driver Frank Stippler made the Rinaldi team hold their breath. It was tough but fair and the two competitors didn’t give each other a single millimeter of the track. After three laps, the Austrian had fought his way to sixth place. The Rinaldi pilot made no mistakes and by the pit stop at half-time, he was in fifth position.
In the second half, Siedler’s team mate Marco Seefried latched onto this great performance. He continuously pulled a gap on his pursuer in a Lamborghini and finally took a strong fourth home. “Considering the fact that we started from eighth on the grid, fourth place is a super result”, said a happy Seefried on Saturday. “Our car is difficult to drive on the Portimao Circuit”. Norbert Siedler was also satisfied with the qualifying race and summarized: ”Fourth place is absolutely okay. By Sunday we’ll have a few things modified on the car in order to be even better equipped.”
In the main race of the event the team around Michele Rinaldi shone with a great podium success. Marco Seefried and Norbert Siedler saw the chequered flag on third position. Marco Seefried, who did the first stint, had a perfect start and immediately put up the pressure on the third ranking Audi with Niki Mayr-Melnhof. For a couple of laps the two drivers were involved in a tough battle and finally Marco Seefried managed to pass his opponent. “We had contact, but it was a fair fight”, explained Marco Seefried. At half-time of the race the Rinaldi driver handed over the car to his team mate Norbert Siedler, who managed to defend third place until the end of the race. “Awesome! Finishing third was our goal”, admitted Norbert Siedler. “The Audi’s are very strong on this circuit, especially in the corners. We could keep the pace on the straights, but not in the curves”, says the Austrian and Marco Seefried added: “The free practice was not really promising, so finally we are really happy about the third place.”
From 19th-20th September, the Nürburgring hosts the Blancpain GT Series and is venue for the fifth race of the Blancpain Endurance Series. The race on the tradition-steeped circuit, is a ‘home game’ for Rinaldi Racing from Mendig. “We are really looking forward to it”, revealed team boss Michele Rinaldi. “In front of a home crowd and our fans, we certainly hope to be driving as far up front as possible.”