Winning 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 drivers Pierre Ehret and Rinat Salikhov. The steering wheel work behind the black Ferrari 458 in the ProAm class was shared by Steve Parrow, Alexander Mattschull, and Daniel Keilwitz.
Although the sun had prevailed the days before, thick clouds appeared on Saturday morning – just in time for the first sessions in the morning. Nevertheless, the drivers were able to drive in dry conditions on Saturday. This served the riders to steadily improve their lap times and set up for qualifying and racing on Sunday.
On Sunday morning, the qualifying session was to take place. But as so often at the Nürburgring: thick fog. Qualifying 1 was first postponed before it was canceled. The same was true for Qualifying 2. Race control waited another hour before releasing Qualifying 3 for the field of 54 GT3 cars. Now it was up to Rinat Salikhov in the green Ferrari with start number 333 and Daniel Keilwitz in the black Ferrari with start number 66 to achieve a good result for the grid. In wet and partly drying conditions, they took to the track. But after only one lap the qualifying was stopped because a competitor was stuck in the gravel. Daniel Keilwitz then decided to go out again with slicks and take advantage of the drying conditions. Rinat Salikhov stayed on rain tyres as it was very wet in some places. When both drivers were on their fast lap, the session was again ended with a red flag and not resumed. So it was enough for the 66 to start fifth in the ProAm class and for the 333 to start seventh in the AM class.
The race could be started on time later, the fog had mostly cleared and the track was dry. Pierre Ehret had a good start and was able to leave some competitors behind after a few laps. Until the pit stop, he made up many places in the field and handed over the Ferrari 488 GT3 to Rinat Salikhov in fifth place in the AM class. There was a small change in the driver pairing for car number 66: Steve Parrow, unfortunately, had to withdraw from the start at the Nürburgring for health reasons. So Daniel Keilwitz and Alexander Mattschull shared the Ferrari 458 GT3. At the start, Daniel Keilwitz was able to fight his way up from 17th place in the overall field to 10th place and took the lead in the ProAm class. By the time of the pit stop, Keilwitz had worked his way up to the sixth place and maintained the lead. With a lead of more than 30 seconds, Alexander Mattschull took over the black Ferrari for the next two stints.
Rinat Salikhov could convince with fast lap times and until the next pit stop, he reached fourth place in the AM class. For the last stint, Pierre Ehret was again at the wheel of the green Ferrari. With constant lap times, he could secure third place in the AM class. A few laps before the end of the race a small moment of shock: smoke came out of the right rear wheel. But Pierre Ehret was able to bring the green Ferrari safely to the finish and defended his third place. For Alexander Mattschull, too, everything went like clockwork. After another very good pit stop, Mattschull was able to extend his lead over the runner-up in the ProAm class again. After further good duels, Alexander Mattschull won the ProAm class at the Nürburgring together with Daniel Keilwitz and achieved an excellent fifth place overall.
“All the drivers did a super job this weekend. These are all results we can build on. The team also gave everything again during the pit stops and showed a very good job. Unfortunately, Steve Parrow was unable to take part in the race; the whole team wishes him a speedy recovery!” said team boss Michele Rinaldi. “We would also like to thank our sponsors and partners. Especially Ehret Family Winery, KS-Tools, and Syntix. Thanks also go to all the fans, whether they were on-site or behind the screen following the race action.”
The final round of the Blancpain Sprint Series will take place in Barcelona on 01-02 October. Rinaldi Racing will be fielding Rinat Salikhov and Norbert Siedler in the ProAm class and Steve Parrow and Christian Hook in the AM class.