The epilogue for the Cetilar Racing, team didn’t turn out as expected, at the 6 Hours of Watkins Glen, the third round in the Michelin Endurance Cup which is part of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship series.
Upsetting the plans of the Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 no. 47 team managed by AF Corse was a red flag waved 90 minutes from the end of the race due to a violent storm in the circuit area. This interruption was far from providential for Roberto Lacorte, Giorgio Sernagiotto and Antonio Fuoco, following the GTD win in the prestigious 12 Hours of Sebring, with their performance getting better and better. In the end, the team finished in fourth place in the class, but with another unforeseeable situation in the final phases, without which they could easily have reached the podium.
Sernagiotto, who obtained eighth place in the qualifying session on Saturday, was behind the wheel at the start of the race. The driver from Veneto completed the first driving stint without any problems before handing over to Lacorte, who did a double stint due to many yellow flags. Then it was Fuoco’s turn, and after that Sernagiotto again.
Then the red flag, and the restart in Full Course Yellow with a stopwatch less than 35 minutes from the end. At that moment, Sernagiotto was in seventh place. Ten minutes later Fuoco took over again. At 21’10” from the end, the green lights, and on the first useful lap the driver from Cosenza hit a billboard and dragged it away with the car. To free the car, Fuoco had to slow down, and slid back into ninth place.
Then he continued at his usual very fast pace and in the end got back into a position that was in any case positive for the three drivers, all on their début on the 5.4 km of the “Glen” track and who right from the start managed to keep up a good pace.
“We did a very good job, but bad luck denied us a place on the podium. Until the red flag, the strategy was perfect. In the last minutes of the race, an Aston Martin even stopped in our pit when Fuoco had to enter, and this caused further delays. And then again, Antonio hit a billboard which got stuck on the windscreen, blocking his view and forcing him to stop along the track to remove it. What with one thing and another, we lost exactly the 14 seconds that separated us from third place,” Roberto Lacorte commented.
“Those six hours seemed more like 24,” Giorgio Sernagiotto explained, “Starting from the end, with the storm that interrupted the race and a huge accident involving a Lamborghini, whose driver was luckily OK. Before that, after the start when we got a bit stuck in the traffic, Roberto had an infinitely long central stint, which allowed us to recover and gain seventh place. Fuoco drove like a madman. I had a good stint, and in the end we were in sixth place before the stop, with some perfect tactics. Unluckily the billboard slowed Antonio down. The result was good in the end, but it was a shame because we missed the podium by a narrow margin.”
“Personally, I’m a bit disappointed,” Antonio Fuoco added. “At one point we had a good pace, and were able to battle with the cars at the front, but the red flag broke our rhythm. We’re a bit bitter, because all of us gave it our best shot. But we’ll certainly try again next time.”
The next appointment in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for the Cetilar Racing team is for the first weekend in October in Road Atlanta, competing in the Motul Petit Le Mans, the fourth and final event in the endurance series.