A third and a second place: this is the result for Andrea Piccini about his return to Le Mans after nine years; together with his team-mate Claudio Schiavoni, the driver from Sansepolcro almost missed the victory in race 2 with the Ferrari 488 Gt3 of the Kessel Racing team in the “Road to le Mans”, the third round of the Michelin Le Mans Cup.
In Race 1, held on Thursday 14 June, it was Claudio Schiavoni who took the lead and made himself the protagonist of a good initial part, which saw him keep the sixth position until the driver change; once behind the wheel, Andrea Piccini started pushing and reaching first the Ferrari of Maurizio Mediani and then his brother Giacomo. The last laps turned into a real battle, with Giacomo Piccini who managed to hold the place of honor and Andrea Piccini who saved third place from Frederic Vervisch’s attempts to attack.
Race 2, which took place on the morning of Saturday 16th, demonstrated on the one hand the undoubted potential of the Ferrari 488 GT3 number 77 of the Kessel Racing team, but on the other hand that often not even an intelligent strategy can be used to win if the combination of circumstances is not the right one. Following the contact on the first lap of the Ferraris of Sergio Pianezzola and Marco Cioci, Schiavoni has risen from sixth to fourth place, managing to keep him until the driver change. Andrea Piccini took delivery of the car as soon as the driver’s change window opened, but immediately came across a “slow zone”, one of the sectors of the track where the speed is temporarily limited to a maximum of 80 km/h, due to an accident; at the same time, the car in command – that is the Ferrari of Maurizio Mediani and Christoph Ulrich – has returned to the pits for the changeover to the steering wheel and the fact that Piccini was forced to proceed at a reduced pace has allowed the leading pair to gain almost a minute, a gap which at that point became unbridgeable despite Andrea having recorded the fastest lap in 3’56″2, at an average of over 207 km/h. Surpassing the cars of Gino Forgione and Philippe Soenen, Andrea Piccini still managed to secure an excellent second position.
“Climbing twice on the podium of Le Mans is a unique feeling – commented Andrea Piccini – and even if it is certainly not the podium of the 24h, it is not every day to fight for victory in a unique and magical track like that of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Too bad for the faded victory in Race 2; we had guessed the strategy and in the second part of the race we were consistently the fastest on the track, but the slowdown zone encountered immediately after the pit stop made us lose too much time towards our opponents who at that moment were still box“.
Despite the difficult weekend, Giacomo Piccini and Sergio Pianezzola keep the top of the table with 61 points; followed by 50 Maurizio Mediani and Christoph Ulrich, 42 Marco Cioci and Piergiuseppe Perazzini and 41 Andrea Piccini and Claudio Schiavoni. Next meeting, Friday 20 and Saturday 21 July at the Red Bull Ring, in Austria.