31/07/2012 - The 24 Hours of Spa, fourth round of the Blancpain Endurance Series, ended with a retirement for the two Ferrari 458 Italia lined up by Vita4One Team Italy.
Both cars were unfortunately slowed down by traffic originated by the over 70 cars on track during qualifying and the lineup made by Eugenio Amos (IT), Alessandro Bonacini (IT),Giacomo Petrobelli (IT) and Jonathan Hirschi (SWI) were thirty-ninth absolute (2:21.936), while Alessandro Bonetti (IT), Andrea Ceccato (IT), Michael Lyons (GBR) and Filip Salaquarda (CZ) classified fourty-fifth (2:23.056).
The real values in the field emerged nevertheless in the race as both lineups started to gain positions since the initial stages. At the end of the sixth hour the first points awarded the sixth position of Pro-Am for Amos, Bonacini, Petrobelli and Hirschi while Bonetti, Ceccato, Lyons and Salaquarda were holding the seventeenth position.
The cold shower arrived eight hours within the race when, in the middle of the night and with humid track, Salaquarda has been victim of a violent accident at the exit of Blanchimont originated by a contact with a rival. The Czech driver hit head-first the barriers at high speed but, despite some bruises, he did not have serious physical consequences. The retirement was nevertheless unavoidable due to the serious damage on the car.
Amos, Bonacini, Petrobelli and Hirschi run a perfect race all the way until the eleventh hours and they reached the second position of Pro-Am fighting for the victory. Some electrical problems started afterwards to slow down their action and required some unscheduled pit-stops. Fourteenth at the end of the twelfth hour, their race continued until the eighteenth hour when a failure to the fuel sensor stopped their car.
The fight for the Pro-Am title stays more open than ever though, as Amos, Bonacini and Petrobelli hold now the second position with 65 points, just three adrift the lead.
Matteo Bobbi (Vita4One Team Italy, Team Principal):
"Things did not go as expected but I am proud anyway for the great job done by the whole team and drivers. Bonetti, Ceccato, Lyons and Salaquarda produced a good recover but their race ended early due to a misunderstanding with a lapped rival. The race run by Amos, Bonacini, Petrobelli and Hirschi has been spotless until the eleventh hour which allowed them to get some important points for the classification. What a shame for the electric problem that followed: it was impossible to fix it quickly. In any case we met one of our targets, that is keeping within the title fight. We will face the last two races of the season with the greatest determination to be crowned champions in Pro-Am".
The Blancpain Endurance Series will resume next 23 September at Nurburgring (D).
Source: Vita4One Team Italy