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Drivers say traffic opportunism is key to success in Imola – Sportscar365

Vaseline 1 month ago

Photo: Julien Delfosse/DPPI

Drivers in both Hypercar and LMGT3 expect traffic management to play a key role in the 6 Hours of Imola, given the large number of cars on the track and the limited overtaking opportunities around the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari.

On Sunday afternoon, 37 cars will take to the Italian circuit for the second round of the FIA ​​World Endurance Championship, on a circuit significantly different from the Lusail International Circuit which hosted the season opener in March.

While the fast, undulating and unforgiving nature of the Imola circuit has been praised by many drivers, they also think it could likely be a challenge during the race.

“Actually, Imola is probably one of the best circuits to drive, to enjoy the pleasure of driving, but probably also one of the worst for racing,” said Ferrari Hypercar driver Alessandro Pier Guidi.

“It’s quite narrow. The places to overtake are very few. Almost zero. Moreover, it is very complicated to patch other cars.

“It will be a very challenging race. We also expect a lot of neutralizations because of the new changes they are making on the track.

“Basically there is gravel everywhere and with these types of cars it can be quite difficult for everyone.

“But at the end of the day it’s the same for everyone and we’ll see what happens”

Lamborghini Iron Lynx driver Mirko Bortolotti echoed Pier Guidi’s comments, describing the overtaking situation as ‘difficult, but not impossible’.

“I think traffic will play the biggest role in the passing itself because you could end up in the wrong place or maybe make the wrong decision when passing a GT car. You end up with a pickup or something in the mud and then that can open up. more opportunities for overtaking.

“I think if you fight with a car that drives like you, on pure pace it would be difficult to run and overtake, but as I said: everything is possible, but in general this circuit is difficult to overtake.”

The Italian also pointed out that brake wear could play a major factor, with several large braking zones in corners such as Tamburello, Acque Minerali and Variante Alta.

“It is generally one of the most difficult circuits when it comes to braking,” said Bortolotti.

“So if you can have a more efficient braking phase, where you can keep your brakes alive for a long time, that might also be something that can help you gain places through the race.”

Team WRT driver Augusto Farfus, meanwhile, said he expects “two different phases of the race” from the LMGT3 drivers’ perspective, taking into account tire warm-up for the Hypercar class amid relatively low ambient temperatures at Imola.

“I know both sides of the story,” he said.

“I was in IMSA, I drove the LMDh car, so I know how hard it is, the out lap, the build laps and so on.

“The cold temperatures over the weekend make their lives extremely difficult, so I think this will play a big role in our traffic management, where we can pass them on the final laps.

“And then things will turn around quickly and they will come at us again. The braking points for the GT3s and Hypercars are therefore quite comparable, of course the approach speed is much higher. It can be very difficult for them.

“They will use us as an opportunity to potentially gain places in their league and we can use them to gain places in our league as well.

“So there will be, I think, two separate races: our own race against our own competitors, their race against their own competitors and the race where they meet us.

“Especially in those phases where a train of Hypercars passes by and that is the moment when they want to be opportunistic against their own competition, but it is the moment when we can also be opportunistic.”

Farfus called on his fellow competitors to be “alert” in traffic to avoid unnecessary incidents during the six-hour race.

“The chance of contact, the chance of incident, increases and this is a circuit where a clean overtake generally becomes very difficult against two cars at the same speed,” he said.

“We have to be alert, I think everyone in the field is aware of that, they are aware of that, we are aware of that, so this will be a good show for the fans.

“I think in the final minutes of the race, when there will be two cars battling for position, it will be a great time for the spectators to see good moves, smart moves and hopefully clean moves.

“It won’t be an easy race here, especially given the layout of the circuit.”



Davey Euwema is the European editor of Sportscar365. Based in the Netherlands, Euwema’s activities include the FIA ​​World Endurance Championship, the European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS.