Spa weather saved Ferrari from finishing "absolutely last"

Last weekend's terrible weather during the Spa FIA World Endurance Championship round saved Ferrari from finishing "absolutely last", reckons factory driver James Calado.

Spa weather saved Ferrari from finishing "absolutely last"

The Briton finished less than a second behind the winning Aston Martin in the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE he shared with Alessandro Pier Guidi in a race affected by snow and rain. 

But the 2017 WEC champion believes that the two factory Ferraris were not capable of finishing any higher the ninth and 10th positions in which they qualified at the back of the class field had it been a dry race. 

"The team played it really well on the strategy and the car was very competitive in the rain — that's what got us up there," Calado told Motorsport.com. "You have to be happy if you if start from P9 and finish second."

The sister AF GTE Pro entry driven by Sam Bird and Davide Rigon ended up sixth, and asked where the Ferraris would have finished in dry conditions, Calado replied: "Absolutely last - ninth and 10th."

The rain allowed the Ferrari drivers to overcome its straightline speed deficiency under the current Balance of Performance. 

"We didn't go to Spa believing we could challenge for the victory, because sectors one and two are all about straightline speed," he said. 

The Ferrari drivers have complained that they are unable to pass GTE Am cars on the straights as a result of the BoP.

Calado believes that he could have challenged the winning Aston Martin with Maxime Martin at the wheel had the race not been red-flagged with just over 11 minutes of the six hours remaining. 

"A couple of laps more, and I would have been in a position to have a go at the Aston," he said. 

Calado remains hopeful that the BoP for next month's Le Mans 24 Hours, which is not covered by the automatic system used in the shorter WEC races, will allow the Ferrari to be competitive.

The results of Spa mean that he and Pier Guidi can no longer retain their WEC crown: the GTE Pro title battle is now between the two factory Porsche crews of Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen and Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni.

Estre and Christensen lead by 36 points with only 39 left to play for at Le Mans, after Bruni and Lietz were demoted from a podium finish by a post-race penalty for contact with Giancarlo Fisichella's GTE Am class Ferrari.

Read Also:

shares
comments
Davidson hails Maldonado’s "second-best ever drive"

Previous article

Davidson hails Maldonado’s "second-best ever drive"

Next article

ACO promises closer LMP1 contest at Le Mans in 2019

ACO promises closer LMP1 contest at Le Mans in 2019
Load comments
Charting 100 world championship sportscar starts for Toyota Prime

Charting 100 world championship sportscar starts for Toyota

This weekend's Portimao 8 Hours round of the FIA World Endurance Championship marks the 100th world champion prototype start for Toyota. Here are the major milestones on the road to three figures since the earliest low-key days of its entry into the Group C arena nearly 40 years ago.

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Prime

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

WEC
May 7, 2021
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Prime

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory.

WEC
May 4, 2021
What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era Prime

What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era

A slim field of three cars will be entered in the Hypercar class for the first round of the World Endurance Championship's post-LMP1 age. But there are plenty of reasons for optimism with the new wave of manufacturer entries and competing class philosophies just around the corner

WEC
Apr 29, 2021
How Aston Martin scaled new heights in the Prodrive era Prime

How Aston Martin scaled new heights in the Prodrive era

The 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship kicks off at Spa this weekend, but for the first time since its 2012 inception there will be no factory-run Aston Martins in the GTE Pro class. That's especially notable because as a works entity, the Prodrive era of Aston Martin Racing that began in 2005 has been a success from the very start.

WEC
Apr 27, 2021
How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname Prime

How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname

Sportscar racing lost one of it's greatest talents 20 years ago today when Bob Wollek was knocked from his bicycle prior to the Sebring 12 Hours. The enigmatic Frenchman never won the Le Mans 24 Hours, but many still remember today why 'Brilliant Bob' became a legend

WEC
Mar 16, 2021
How Ferrari's Hypercar project could bolster Leclerc's legacy Prime

How Ferrari's Hypercar project could bolster Leclerc's legacy

Ferrari's planned return to the top category at the Le Mans 24 Hours has further heightened anticipation for the 2023 race. Few concrete details are currently known, but already it has a high-profile superstar angling for involvement, which would make a refreshing change

WEC
Mar 5, 2021
Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar racing exile Prime

Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar racing exile

Making a return to top-flight sportscar racing after 50 years away, Ferrari will enter the Le Mans Hypercar ranks in 2023. The Italian marque denies the link with Formula 1's new cost cap that frees up resources, but it's certainly no coincidence...

WEC
Feb 25, 2021