GTE Report: Porsche beats Ferrari in epic race-long battle
Porsche beat Ferrari on their home patch after a sensational race-long battle between the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Kevin Estre and Neel Jani and the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi.
The two cars were never separated by more than a few seconds over the duration of the 6 Hours of Monza but it was a late race splash for fuel by the Ferrari squad which ultimately settled the result.
It had been a manic ‘cat and mouse’ race up until the final moments in what was one of the closest LMGTE Pro class races for many years as the two completed laps almost at qualifying levels of pace.
LMGTE PRO - @PorscheRaces and @FerrariRaces put on a stunning battle in LMGTE Pro as No.92 Porsche of @kevinestre and @neeljani just beat the Ferrari 488 GTE Evo of James Calado and Alessandro Pierguidi.#WEC #6HMonza pic.twitter.com/WtAGz9wa3A— WEC (@FIAWEC) July 18, 2021
Both cars spent time in the lead during the race as the battle undulated on-track and in the pitlane. Ultimately Estre and Jani took the chequered flag after Alessandro Pierguidi headed for his ‘splash stop’ with just three minutes of the race remaining.
The win for Estre and Jani sees the pair vault back in to lead of the LMGTE PRO category title chase after Calado and Pier Guidi had themselves taken over at the top after last month’s Portimao race.
The No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Gimmi Bruni and Richard Lietz sealed third position after a similarly tight battle with the No. 52 AF Corse Ferrari driven by Daniel Serra and Miguel Molina.
Porsche initially split its strategy after an early Full Course Yellow period and shortly after Richard Lietz was also able to take second from teammate Jani after Calado surged to the front.
But both the No. 91 Porsche and the No.52 AF Corse Ferrari slipped slightly back in the second phase of the race but were only split by 3.4s at the chequered flag.
LMGTE Am: AF Corse win from the back!
While there was some disappointment for AF Corse Ferrari in the LMGTE Pro category, there was joy in the LMGTE AM class as the No.83 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo cored a famous victory.
Alessio Rovera, Francois Perrodo and Nicklas Nielsen drove an impeccable race to cut through the 16 car class field from the very back of the grid.
The trio had seen its qualifying effort cancelled due to a technical infringement on Saturday evening but it merely seemed to concentrate their efforts.
Rovera immediately made progress and was able to carve his way through from the back and lay the foundations for a remarkable victory.
Perrodo completed a fine double stint before Nielsen was able to complete a solid double at the end to consolidate the win and banish the memory of both a difficult race in Portugal and the Monza qualifying woes.
While AF Corse were serene at the front, behind there was late drama of epic proportions between two Aston Martins – the D’Station entered car and the Aston Martin Racing entry.
Tomonobu Fujii was reeled in by Augusto Farfus in the final minutes and the two battled door-to-door in the final two laps to thrill the Monza crowd. Farfus ultimately succeeded and made his move to take the runners-up position, while D’Station Racing registered its best WEC result, taking the line just 0.190s behind the No.98 Aston Martin Vantage.
Elsewhere, there was frustration for the pole-sitting TF Sport Aston Martin car when Ben Keating suffered a puncture after having led for much of the first hour.
Click HERE for race results.
Click HERE for provisional race standings.