Calado "nearly crashed three times" before Spa GTE Pro win

Ferrari driver James Calado has revealed he almost crashed three times in the final stages of Saturday’s Spa 6 Hours as he strived to hang onto the GTE Pro lead.

Calado "nearly crashed three times" before Spa GTE Pro win
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Calado explained that he “gave it everything” as he resisted the advances of Michael Christensen’s Porsche 911 RSR on the way to completing class victory in the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo he shared with Alessandro Pier Guidi.

“I nearly crashed the car three times on the last two laps,” said Calado after taking the chequered flag half a second ahead of the Porsche Christensen shared with Kevin Estre at the end of round two of the 2022 World Endurance Championship.

“I gave it more than 100%, too much actually, but I didn’t want to give up.”

Calado explained that the big moments came Eau Rouge, the Bruxelles hairpin and the following lefthander over the course of the final two laps.

The Ferrari appeared to be second favourite when the race went green after a final full course yellow with 10 minutes left, because the Porsche was the faster car on slick tyres on a track with a clear dry line.

“I knew the Porsche would be there; in sectors one and two they were very strong,” said Calado.

“They’ve got a good car here at Spa in the dry, as we’ve seen over the past couple of years.”

Calado explained that he was struggling on the soft-compound Michelin slick to which the class-winning Ferrari had swapped when Calado took over from Pier Guidi with just under 90 minutes remaining.

“They were amazing for the first few laps, but then I started to get massive movement from the tyres,” he said.

“I even started going onto the wet parts of the track to cool them down.”

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The winning Ferrari moved into the lead on the 82nd of the 102 laps completed by the GTE Pro frontrunners when the sister car shared by Miguel Molina and Antonio Fuoco made a short stop for fuel under FCY conditions.

The Christensen/Estre Porsche, which was running third, also pitted at this time with an hour left, but AF Corse and Ferrari gambled on leaving Calado out on track.

A further two FCYs allowed Calado to complete the race without another fuel stop.

“I never saw the fuel light come on,” said Calado when asked if he had been short on fuel.

“But if there hadn’t been that last FCY, we would have needed to splash — we took a gamble.”

Pier Guidi conceded that the rain and the multiple interruptions to the race, which included three red-flag stoppages, played a key role in Ferrari’s win after the car again proved off the pace of the Porsche in practice and qualifying.

“We didn’t have the performance in the dry, but in the wet anything can happen,” he said.

“We needed a race like this to have a possibility to win.

“James did an amazing job in the last hour and a half, because we knew the Porsche was quicker in the dry.”

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