Super-sub Rugolo relishing "dream" Ferrari Le Mans chance

Michele Rugolo says getting the late call to replace the injured Lucas di Grassi in the AF Corse Ferrari Le Mans 24 Hours line-up "felt like a dream".

Super-sub Rugolo relishing "dream" Ferrari Le Mans chance
#51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE: James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi, Lucas di Grassi
James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi, Lucas di Grassi, AF Corse
#51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE: James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi, Lucas di Grassi
#51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE: James Calado, Alessandro Pier Guidi, Lucas di Grassi
#50 Spirit of Race, Ferrari 488 GT3: Pasin Lathouras, Michele Rugolo, Alessandro Pier Guidi
#50 Spirit of Race, Ferrari 488 GT3: Pasin Lathouras, Michele Rugolo, Alessandro Pier Guidi
#81 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia: Steve Wyatt, Michele Rugolo, Sam Bird

The Italian was given the nod to deputise for di Grassi when it was announced the Brazilian would be forced to withdraw from the rest of the Le Mans weekend due to a broken ankle.

Rugolo, who was present at La Sarthe for the Road to Le Mans support event, therefore joins FIA WEC regulars James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #51 Ferrari 488 GTE.

“It is bad for Lucas, as this is the first time for Ferrari, so I am sorry for him, I really am,” Rugolo told Motorsport.com.

“I was here racing in the Road to Le Mans race and happy with that but when Amato [Ferrari, AF Corse team boss] called me and asked to replace Lucas there was only one answer for me.

"It was the easiest decision I ever made, and it all felt like a bit of a dream to be honest.”

Rugolo has been competing for AF Corse in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup this season alongside Pathin Lathourus and Pier Guidi.

“I have been and I am now too involved with Ferrari in Blancpain and other things too. They know me, I know them very well,” said Rugolo.

“With this spec car it is the first time I race it [the 488 GTE]. I have lots of kilometres in the GT3 but it is not so different and it is mainly knowing the tyres and understanding this.”

“There is no pressure from the team and I think I do a reasonable laptime and the car has a nice balance but still I am learning,” continued the 34-year-old.

“But it is a long race and to be in a factory Ferrari at Le Mans feels amazing at this moment.”

Rugolo is set to make his fifth start at Le Mans this Saturday. His last race was in 2015, when he also started for AF Corse but in the GTE Am category with Steve Wyatt and Sam Bird.

Prior to that, the Italian had two starts for Krohn Racing in 2013 and 2014 after he had made his debut for the Durango team back in 2003.

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