Team GT Corse by Rinaldi completes the triple at the Blancpain Endurance Series at Paul Ricard in France.

Alexander Mattschull, Frank Schmickler and Pierre Ehret dominate the Gentlemen Trophy at Le Castellet – bad luck for the sister car

Team GT Corse by Rinaldi remains the benchmark in the Gentlemen Trophy of the Blancpain Endurance Series (BES). At the race weekend in Le Castellet (F), Alexander Mattschull, Frank Schmickler and Pierre Ehret celebrated their third class win in a row in the Ferrari 458 Italia (#458) of the German team. The sister car of Rinat Salikhov, Vadim Kogay and Marco Seefried (#333) was slowed down in the Pro-Am category by bad luck in qualifying and tyre problems in the race.

Danny Pfeil (Team Principal): “The Azzurri were quickly sent home at the World Cup after disappointing performances, but in GT3 customer racing Italy remains a power. Directly after our performance at the 24-hour race in the Eifel, we continued at the Circuit Paul Ricard in the Blancpain Endurance Series. Unfortunately, our Pro-Am team was not kissed by luck, but in the Gentlemen Trophy, we were once again unstoppable. At this point, my special thanks go to our Technical Director Michele Rinaldi. It is only thanks to the passionate work of his team that our Ferraris run so fast, consistently and reliably. Setting up such an extensive race calendar for a team is a big task. Nominating the appropriate drivers and managing the budget is an even bigger feat. Preparing the cars and getting them running so reliably is the crowning glory.”

Michele Rinaldi (Technical Director): “From the 24-hour race straight to France and the next tough competition – that was a tight programme. We certainly can’t complain about a lack of work. Next week we will immediately continue with the test for the 24-hour race in Spa-Francorchamps. Team boss Danny Pfeil is giving us a hard time. That’s good because you can only develop yourself, the car and the team in real racing. That’s exactly what’s happening right now. The success in the strongest GT series in Europe compensates for all the effort.”

Marco Seefried (driver #333): “The abandonment of qualifying with red flags set us back further. We had no chance of a decent starting position. In the race, things went well at first. After the start, I was able to make up ten places and hold my ground in fifth place – despite a really sub-optimal set of tyres. We had the fastest Ferrari in the field, but unfortunately only until the puncture. Then the air was not only out of the tyre but out of the whole race.”

Pierre Ehret (driver #458): “Honestly, it wasn’t exactly my weekend. I had slight difficulties adjusting to the special features of the car – especially regarding the brakes. Just like Marco in the sister car, I also got a less than perfect set of tyres. I felt like I was in a drift challenge. Alexander brought the thing home for us. That’s what makes a strong driver pairing. We are a compact triple on the motorsport field.”

Alexander Mattschull (driver #458): “For me, it was a perfect weekend. I’m happy with the team, the car, myself and the whole world. I’ve got a better and better grip on our fast Italian now. With a really good middle stint, I was able to extend our lead decisively. That was the key. Now I’m looking forward to the next highlight of the season: the 24 Hours of Spa.”

Frank Schmickler (driver #458): “Paul Ricard is already a very special show. The track, the facilities and the whole environment are really impressive. The fact that we did an evening race there was the perfect preparation for the Spa 24 Hours. The party on the Paul Ricard podium was a lot of fun. The champagne tasted especially good after the third class win in a row. In the last stint, the Ferrari from AF Corse put on a lot of pressure, but I was able to withstand it and cross the line with a 40-second lead. The season is a lot of fun with this great team. It can go on like this for all I care.”