Sergio Pianezzola and Giacomo Piccini with the Ferrari 488 of the Kessel Racing team stood on the top step of the podium of the GT3 class in the fifth round of the Michelin Le Mans Cup, thereby gaining the first position of the championship. A fourth and fifth-place class finish for Frey-Gatting-Gostner and Pianezzola-A. Piccini-Perel with the Ferrari 488 GTE in the European Le Mans Series endurance race.
Saturday an amazing category victory, made even more valuable by the tenth position overall among the fast LMP3 prototypes, gave Sergio Pianezzola and Giacomo Piccini the lead in the GT3 class of the Michelin Le Mans Cup. The start of the race saw Pianezzola come out unscathed from a contact and immediately take the lead in the race till the end of his driving stint. At a fast pace, Sergio gained precious seconds over his pursuers with every lap, extending his advantage by half a minute. At the driver change half way through the race, the Iron Lynx crew’s Ferrari 488 GT3 had to serve a penalty of 25” handicap time, due to the past race results, yet still managed to stay ahead on mere fractions. The second part of the race saw Giacomo Piccini fight tooth and nail to defend his position, and thanks to a superb performance he remained in front till the waving of the checkered flag at the finish line. The great result at Spa Francorchamps also brought Kessel Racing team to the top standings with only one race left. Enforced retirement for the second Ferrari 488 driven by Andrea Piccini and Claudio Schiavoni during the fourth lap because of a power steering failure.
Sunday was the day of the European Le Mans Series where the Iron Dames were racing accompanied by the Iron Lynx drivers on the other Ferrari 488 GTE: both crews ended the race just short of the podium.
Manuela Gostner, Rahel Frey and Michelle Gatting, ready to defend their second position in the championship, obtained a fourth place in class. As they were fighting for the podium, their car was rammed by another on which unfortunately forced them to a pit-stop for repair and resulted in a few laps delay. Once back on the track, the Ferrari #83 managed to regain the fifth place, which then became fourth with only a few laps to go, when the other Ferrari of the Kessel team had to stop for re-fuel.
Behind them only a fifth place for the other 488 GTE driven by Sergio Pianezzola and Andrea Piccini together with David Perel. An extremely fast-paced race for the car #60, in a constant battle for the win after two of the four hours scheduled. The incredible performance, however, was seriously affected by a few too many errors on Pianezzola’s part, who was given a 10”- penalty for track limits at the fast Eau Rouge (bend) and later served a 45” drive through penalty for exceeding the max speed at the pit lane entry.
These handicaps weighed heavily on the chance for the Ferrari #60 to stand on the podium and eventually they had to settle for the fifth place.
This weekend at Spa has been like riding a roller coaster,
says Sergio Pianezzola, driver and manager of Iron Lynx Motorsport Lab with Andrea Piccini.
At Saturday’s MLMC we triumphed after having raced for two hours at the highest level of intensity on one of the world’s hardest racetrack. My most heartfelt congratulations to my team mate Giacomo Piccini who has been exceptionally fast and the whole team who provided us with a flawless Ferrari.
As for Sunday, I take full responsibility for the final result at the ELMS. With a series of very good laptimes, I proved I could battle it out for the podium, but then I made an unforgivable mistake at the pit lane entry – I honestly can’t understand it myself. I’m fully aware of the rightness of the ten-second penalty for having stepped over the lane at Eau Rouge as I was fighting for first place; at the same time, the error with the speed limiter at the pit lane entry is very hard to accept. I regret having denied my team mates and the whole team another great result, but I’m sure will make up for it soon. The whole Kessel team with the Iron Lynx and Iron Dames drivers have confirmed here in Belgium, too, they deserved the top positions in both the championships we are competing in.
The race at Spa will be followed by the last round of the two international championships scheduled at the weekend from 25 to 27 October on the Portuguese circuit of Portimao. At Michelin Le Mans Cup, the two defending champions Sergio Pianezzola and Giacomo Piccini will fight to hold on to their first position in the standings and confirm the title again this year; whereas at the European Le Mans Series, will Manuela Gostner, Rahel Frey and Michelle Gatting’s aim will be focused on obtaining the final second place in the championship. In both cases, this would mean earning the right to enter the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans.
MICHELIN LE MANS CUP
GT3 Drivers Standings (after 5 races the first 5):
1° Pianezzola-G.Piccini (Ferrari 488 GT3 Kessel Racing-Iron Lynx) 105 points;
2° Lavergne-Mac (Ferrari 488 GT3) 96;
3° Howard-Gunn (Aston Martin Vantage GT3) 62;
4° Ulrich-Mediani (Ferrari 488 GT3) 59;
3 5° Müller-Mettler (Mercedes AMG GT3) 51.
GT3 Team Standings (after 5 races the first 5):
1° Kessel Racing-Iron Lynx (#8) 105 points;
2°Luzich Racing 96;
3° Beechdean AMR 62;
4° Spirit of Race 59;
5° SPS AutomotivePerformance 51;
6° Ebimotors 39.
EUROPEAN LE MANS SERIES LMGTE Drivers Standings (after 5 races):
1° Pierguidi- Lavergne-Nielsen (Ferrari 488 GTE) 102;
2° Reid-Cairoli-Pera (Porsche 911 RSR) 75;
3° Gostener-Gatting-Frey (Ferrari 488 GTE-Kessel Racing-Iron Danes) 68;
4° Segal-Cressoni-Lu (Ferrari 488 GTE) 64;
5° Scott-Cameron-Griffin (Ferrari 488 GTE) 56;
6° Pianezzola (Ferrari 488 GTE-Kessel Racing-Iron Lynx) 32;
6° Preining (Porsche 911 RSR) 32…;
12° A. Piccini (Ferrari 488 GTE-Kessel Racing-Iron Lynx) 17;
14° G. Piccini-Cadei (Ferrari 488 GTE-Kessel Racing-Iron Lynx) 15;
16° Schiavoni (Ferrari 488 GTE-Kessel Racing-Iron Lynx) 7…
LMGTE Team Standings (after 5 races):
1° Luzich Racing 102;
2° Dempsey Proton Racing 75;
3° Kessel Racing-Iron Dames (#83) 68;
4° JMW Motorsport 64;
5° Spirit of Race 56;
6° Kessel Racing-Iron Lynx (#60) 32;
7° Proton Competition 32…
Michelin Le Mans Cup 2019 Calendar:
12-14/4 Paul Ricard (FR); 10-12/5 Monza (IT);
13-15/6 Le Mans (FR);
19-20/7 Barcellona (ES);
20-22/9 Spa-Francorchamps. (BE);
25-27/10 Portimao (PT).
European Le Mans Series 2019 Calendar:
12-14/4 Paul Ricard (FR);
10-12 /5 Monza (IT);
19-20/7 Barcellona (ES);
30/8-01/9 Silverstone (GB);
20-22/9 Spa-Franc. (BE);
25-27/10 Portimao (PT).
Spa Francorchamps (B), 23 Settembre 2019