Victorious weekend at home race
Last weekend the fifth and final round of the Blancpain Endurance Series took place at the Nürburgring. At the home race, Rinaldi Racing started with the green Ferrari 488 in the AM class with the drivers Pierre Ehret and Rinat Salikhov. Steve Parrow, Alexander Mattschull and Daniel Keilwitz shared the work behind the steering wheel of the black Ferrari 458 in the ProAm class.
Although the last days the sun was shining, on Saturday morning heavy clouds appeared – on time for the first sessions in the morning. But, on Saturday the drivers could drive under dry conditions. That served to improve the lap times and to determine the setup for qualifying and race on Sunday.
On Sunday morning the qualifying should have taken place. But as so often at the Nürburgring: dense fog. Qualifying 1 was first postponed and then canceled. Same for Qualifying 2. The Race Control waited one more hour, before releasing the field of 54 GT3 cars for Qualifying 3. Now it was the turn of Rinat Salikhov in the green Ferrari with the starting number 333 and Daniel Keilwitz in the black Ferrari with the starting number 66 to reach a good qualifying result for the race. On wet and partially dry conditions the qualifying started. But already after one lap the qualifying was interrupted because a car was in the gravel. Daniel Keilwitz decided to continue on slicks to benefit from the drying track. The car with Rinat Salikhov stayed on wets because on some parts the track was too wet. While both drivers were on their fast lap, the session was again canceled with a red flag and was not resumed. At the end, it was a fifth position in the ProAm class for the 66 and a seventh position in the AM class for the 333.
The race started in time, the fog was mostly gone and the track was dry. Pierre Ehret had a good start and after a few laps, he gained some positions. Until the pit stop, he could move forward and passed the Ferrari 488 GT3 to Rinat Salikhov on the fifth position in the AM class. There was a little change in the driver line-up for car 66: unfortunately, Steve Parrow had to resign the start of the race at the Nürburgring for health reasons. So Daniel Keilwitz and Alexander Mattschull shared the Ferrari 458 GT3. At the start, Daniel Keilwitz moved forward from position 17 overall to 10 overall and took over the lead in the ProAm class. Until the pit stop, Keilwitz could drive until the sixth position and keep the lead. With a gap of over 30 seconds, Alexander Mattschull took over the black Ferrari for the next two stints.
Rinat Salikhov convinced with fast laps and until the next pit stop he reached the fourth position in the AM class. For the last stint, Pierre Ehret was sitting in the green Ferrari. With constant lap times, he assured the third position in the AM class. Some laps before the end of the race a little moment of shock: there was some smoke coming out of the right rear tire. But Pierre Ehret brought safely the green Ferrari to the finish line and defended his third position. Also for Alexander Mattschull it ran like clockwork. After another very good pit stop, Mattschull extended the gap to the runner-up. After some more duels, Alexander Mattschull won together with Daniel Keilwitz the ProAm class at the Nürburgring and reached an amazing fifth place overall.
„All drivers did an excellent job on the weekend. These are all results on which we can build up. Also the team did again their best at the pit stops. Unfortunately, Steve Parrow could not take part in the race. The whole team wishes him to get well soon!” so team boss Michele Rinaldi. „Also we want to thank our partners and sponsors. Especially Ehret Family Winery, KS-Tools and Syntix. Also thank you to all our fans, if they were on site or behind the screen to watch the race.“
The final round of the Blancpain Sprint Series will take place on the 1st to 2nd of October in Barcelona. Rinaldi Racing will start with Rinat Salikhov and Norbert Siedler in the ProAm class and with Steve Parrow and Christian Hook in the AM class.