Datum: 16.04.2014 · 24h Le Mans
Classwin for GT-Corse-Trio despite fuel dramaPierre Ehret and his german teammates Frank Schmickler and Alexander Mattschull secured a class-win in the season-opener of the 2014 Blancpain Endurance Series, the 3h of Monza. Their green Ferrari F458 Italia GT3 with the number #458 finished first in the gentleman-class for bronce-category-drivers and a solid 17th overall, saving Ferraris reputation with the only class-win for the prancing horse in this years race. It was nearly a flag-to-finish success for the all german drivercrew and their german GT Corse by Rinaldi Racing team. Starting driver Pierre Ehret laid the foundation for their success, but nearly lost the race on his last laps in the car due to a fuel drama as he explains:
"I had a good start and overtook immeadiately the pole-setting AF Corse Ferrari #51 for the class-lead. The rest of the race went nearly perfect, with continous improvements in the overall position. Then the car signalled me a low fuel-warning on my penultimate lap. The team signalled me to continue the stint for the planned distance but on the first chicane the first misfires appeared and I changed the mapping to pace mode. On this in-lap even one opponent from us stopped also with a dry fuelcell - right in front of me! I had to brake to aviod him and then to get on the gas again. Then in the Parabolica the engine stopped because there was virtually no fuel left in the tank. The servo-steering was off and I had to avoid the gravel. Somehow I managed to get the Ferrari going again for some 100 meters and stopped in front of our pit with an effectively dry tank."
"Oh boy! This last lap was more nerve-wrecking than the 30 before. But Frank (Schmickler) could continue unharmed and managed to hold on to our strong performance. We all 3 - Alexander Mattschull included - seem to be a very homogeneous gentleman-crew and were able to fight even with some of the silver-drivers from the Pro-Am-class. The GT Corse by Rinaldi-Racing crew did also a faultless job in preparing our car. This were our keys to success"
Frank Schmickler even managed to progress the green machine in the Top-10-ranks of the 38 car big grid short before his pitstop. Alexander Mattschull finished his turn with a first in class and a 17th overall after 95 laps (550,2km), one lap ahead of the nearest opponent in the class, the Sport Garage Ferrari of Delhez / Brandela / Cabannes. The all-german crew secured the only Ferrari-class-win on the home-soil of the prancing horse this day, as the wins in the other classes went to McLaren- and BMW-crews.
"Our Package was well balanced and top maintained by the Team GT-Corse by Rinaldi-Racing. We had an homogeneous and fast driver-crew. The fight against the stronger pilots in the faster classes was demanding but kept our concentration alife. In the setup we had some potentials but this looks even more promising for the next Blancpain Endurance races. Unfortunately I´ll have to miss the next one in Silverstone due to family-reasons. My next race on the Ferrari will be the 4th VLN-race on the Nordschleife. In the Blancpain Endurance Series I´ll continue on the 29.Juni in Le Castellet".