A solid start to the season for Matt Griffin
April 24, 2014 by Leo Nulty
Ferrari ace and 2013 ELMS champion Matt Griffin tasted success and disappointment at Silverstone this weekend in the first round on the European Le Mans Series and World Endurance Championship. The busy Irishman successfully juggled the two race events which were held on the same weekend at the famous Northamptonshire circuit.
Griffin was quickest in ELMS practise and the qualified the AF Corse run Ferrari 458 in 3rd place with team-mates Duncan Cameron and Michele Rugalo. ‘I was really happy to qualify 3rd as we had picked a very conservative strategy to use the medium compound tyre, you have to start the race on qualifying tyres. Most of our competitors chose to use soft compound tyres, which is faster over 1 lap, but less consistent over a stint’. Explained Matt.
Duncan Cameron started the 4hr race and the number 55 AF Corse car was never far away from the front of the field. Matt exited the pits for his stint 35 seconds behind the number 72 SMP Racing Ferrari driven by Victor Shaitar, and from then on, Matt reeled in and passed the Russian driver opening up a 10 second gap before handing control back to Rugalo for the final 45 minutes of the race. The team were blighted slightly by issues in the pit stop however, the pit box was blocked when Griffin arrived, meaning the car needed to be pushed back in to place, there was also a problem with the wheel gun, but despite losing time in the pits, Rugalo managed to take the lead with 7 laps to go.
‘To win the 1st round of the ELMS is fantastic, we were fast all through the race and the car was excellent throughout the weekend. I knew coming in to the championship we would be competitive but after this weekend I’m confident we can push for the championship, I have great team mates and are drive for a great team’.
The WEC qualifying on Saturday saw the number 52 Ram Racing Ferrari take 6th place in the GTPro class by Matt and team mate Alvaro Parente.
‘Like the ELMS, we chose a conservative strategy opting for the medium compound tyre, while again most of our rivals opted for the soft compound tyre. We felt while this would sacrifice speed in qualifying, it would give us an advantage over the race stint’.