Many laps have been led and there have been DNFs to contend with, but the podium has always remained elusive for the David Perel / Rinaldi Racing combo. Until now.
After a strong showing in Suzuka the previous week, and with no signs of jetlag, David arrived in the UK along with Bronze co-drive Rinat Salikov. Their ultimate destination was the Silverstone round of the International GT Series.
After a tough qualifying for Race 1, hopes were high for a stronger race pace – the problem seemed to lie with the Ferrari’a inability to ‘switch on’ the Michelin rubber over shorter distances.
Salikov made a great start, and handed over to David with the car in 14th position overall. Within 3 laps, David realised there was some serious pace in the #333 Ferrari, and fought his way into the top 10 with a series of stunning overtakes. Catching the Pro-Am leader on the final lap of the race, David couldn’t quite make the overtake – the result was that he only just missed out on the Pro-Am win, finishing 2nd in class.
Race 2 on Sunday saw an opportunity for David to qualify the car and start the race. His first qualifying run on new tires was disappointing, requiring a quick adjustment to the tire pressures for the second run. It made the difference, but not quite enough – David missed out on a top 5 starting run by less than 0.150s, which put him in 10th position. Not something to crow about, but his time was the quickest of all the Ferrari competitors on the day.
A good start meant David was able to attack once the tires were up to temperature. Some great battles saw him fight his his way to 6th place, before pitting 2 laps early with a suspected slow puncture. When Salikov took over the driving duty, the team was in sight of another podium for the weekend. Despite brilliant pace, it wasn’t to be – with a BMW put the #333 out of the fight.
While it was a weekend of mixed fortunes on track, it turned out to be positive overall for David, who was asked to team up with Salikov once again for the final round of the Blancpain Sprint Series at the Nürburgring next weekend. The aim is a Pro-Am class podium!