Since launched last year, the success of the Blancpain Endurance Series has not failed to grow and the starting grid of the first event of the year, on 15 April, at the Monza circuit, largely confirmed the fact. The fifty cars present fought it out under the rain in their respective categories: Pro, Pro-Am and Gentlemen Trophy. As they are three-hour endurance races, Motul was well and truly in its element and provided its technical support to several teams. The most brilliant turned out to be Kessel Racing, whose Ferrari 458 Italias did marvellously well. That of Stefano Gattuso, Davide Rigon and Daniel Zampieri clinched a fine 4th place in the overall standings whereas one of the stars of the day, Valentino Rossi, came 18th and 9th of his Pro-Am category. The nine-times world champion motorcycle rider proved to be most at ease at the wheel of the Ferrari for this return to car racing after his participation in 2009 in the Six Hours of Vallelunga. Kessel Racing completed its list of successes with the Gentlemen Trophy win.
Meanwhile, Philippe Gache's team SMG secured a 15th place in the overall standings. The set-up of the Porsche 997, although perfect in dry weather and having led to a 4th place in the qualifyings, was ill-adapted to the torrential rain faced by the drivers and cars. 'Never having tested the car in rainfall was a big handicap', admitted Philippe Gache after the race.
Motul had a newcomer among the teams present: ART Grand Prix, rather accustomed to single-seaters with which it can boast brilliant results, is launching into endurance, with a McLaren MP4-12C. Despite the tuning difficulties encountered since the beginning of the season by the Woking brand, ART managed to place its car in 16th place, a performance Frédéric Vasseur's team can be proud of for this first time participation.
The next event of the Blancpain Endurance Series is scheduled for 3 June at the Silverstone circuit.
01// Markus Palttala / Bas Leinders / Maxime Martin, BMW Z4
04// Stefano Gattuso / Davide Rigon / Daniel Zampieri, Ferrari 458 Italia - Motul
15// Philippe Gache / Eric Clément / Olivier Pla, Porsche 997 GT3 R - Motul
16// Grégoire Demoustier / Duncan Tappy, McLaren MP4-12C - Motul
18// Alessio Salucci / Valentino Rossi, Ferrari 458 Italia - Motul
01// Paolo Andreasi / Pablo Paladino / Beniamino Caccia, Ferrari 430 Scuderia - Motul
Image : © Kessel Racing