Plenty of pace, but no podium for Matt Griffin at Imola.
May 21, 2014 by Leo Nulty
GT driver Matt Griffin had a podium in his sight at the weekends 2nd round of the European Le Mans Series in Imola, Italy, however it was just not to be due to issues with the AF Corse entered Ferrari 458 and contact in the race.
Griffin arrived confident following his win at the iconic track last year, whilst partaking in the same racing series, but this weekend saw a jaded start with an engine misfire and brake issue in both sessions of free practice on Saturday. Fortunately the issues were resolved and Matt qualified the car 5th in LMGTE class.
“The race weekend didn’t start well as the misfire in free practice 1 and a brake issue in free practice 2 meant very few efficient laps and virtually no time to work on the set up. My AF Corse guys are fantastic though and come qualifying, the car was running correctly and while P5 was not where we wanted to be in qualifying I was happy considering the issues we had in free practice.”
Teammate Duncan Cameron started the 4 hour race and Mirko Venturi completed the second stint, while Matt was scheduled to finish. Unfortunately, contact for Venturi meant the team had to make an unscheduled pit stop to repair a puncture and fix rear bodywork on the car, this put the teammates a lap down on the leaders and effectively putting an end to the chance for a win.
Venturi handed over to Matt with just over an hour of the race to go and after setting fastest lap of the race, .7 of a second faster than the race winners, SMP Racing Ferrari, best lap of the race; Matt finally bought the car home in a steady 6th place.
“Finishing 6th is very disappointing as we had a super fast car in the race. The contact for Mirko in the second stint gave us a mountain to climb but in this type of multi-class racing these things can happen. I set the fastest lap of the race and considering we were 2 seconds off the pace following practice it shows how good a job we did as a team. We also set the fastest lap at Rd 1 so I hope we can continue like this for the next races, with hopefully a bit more luck”
The teams number 55 Ferrari is now 2nd in the championship, 13 points behind the leading SMP Racing, another Ferrari team.
Round 3 of the European Le Mans Series will take place at Red Bull Ring, Austria on 19/20 July 2014, this is another track at which the busy driver won last year.
Next up for the Northamptonshire based Irishman is the official test for the Le Mans 24hr taking place 1st June 2014.