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Miguel Molina: “The team showed its full potential at Spa.” – The Checkered Flag

Miguel Molina believes that the Ferrari AF Corse team demonstrated their “full potential” at the TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. The #50 driver made his comments after the third round of the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship where the Italian team led the way until a red flag brought a dramatic twist to proceedings.

After qualifying on pole for the second successive race, the #50 Ferrari 499P was relegated to the back of the Hypercar grid for being 1kg underweight, meaning the #50 started in 19th and the #51 from 10th. The race was set to be a remarkable comeback tale for Ferrari. The team executed an aggressive strategy which enabled the drivers to push their cars into 1st and 2nd positions by lap 86, beating the might of Porsche Penske Motorsport and Hertz Team JOTA Porsche who ultimately would go on to win the race.

An iconic pairing: Ferrari at Eau Rouge. Credit: Ferrari Media Centre

The twist came when a red flag was brought out due to a heavy collision between the #2 Cadillac Racing Hypercar and the #31 Team WRT BMW M4 LMGT3 car on the Kemmel Straight. The surprise twist was the restart of the race with the clock being reset to when the red flag come out, giving an unexpected extra 1 hour 44 minutes of Racing. The #50 had to make an emergency fuel stop followed by a final pit stop, as did the #51, unlike the pair of Porsches which had pitted before the red flag, a move which ultimately gave victory to the German marque. The two Ferraris finished 3rd and 4th, still a great result considering their starting positions.

While Porsche and motorsport fans were delighted by the decision to resume Racing, Ferrari remain deeply disgruntled. #51 driver James Calado said “The race was over for us at the six-hour mark, and the subsequent one-hour and 44-minute ‘sprint race’ shouldn’t have happened.” He firmly believes that Ferrari should have won the race in Belgium, saying “I congratulate my teammates and the entire team. In the first stints, Antonio Giovinazzi did something exceptional by moving up in the standings and allowing me to take the race lead. At that point, we were first and second with the two Ferraris.”

The drivers of the #50 Ferrari on the podium at Spa. Credit: Ferrari Media Centre

Molina, the man who put Ferrari on pole in Belgium and Imola was more magnanimous, saying “I think the team showed its full potential at Spa, and it will be hard to forget how both our crew and our teammates in the 499P number 51 climbed up from the back. At the sixth hour, we were first and second, and I believe that positioning best represents what we saw on the track today.

Ferdinando Cannizzo, Head of Endurance Race Cars, went as far as to say “we consider the decision to extend the race beyond six hours questionable. We feel a lot of regret because we believe the outcome should have been different.” Once again, he praised the efforts of the team. “As far as the race performance is concerned, we did nothing wrong,” he explained, “setting a perfect strategy. We took the cars, which started at the back of the grid, all the way to the top of the leaderboard, and we were leading the race securely, so much so that we had the three Ferrari 499Ps in the top four positions.”

The #50 Ferrari and the pit stop that changed everything. Credit: Julien Delfosse / DPPI

The team’s performance stands them in good stead for the next round of the 2024 FIA WEC, the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans. Ferrari won the 2023 edition of the race in spectacular fashion in only their first year in Hypercar Racing. The team is now fired up to repeat that success in 2024.

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