Antonio Giovinazzi made his debut in the FIA WEC at the 6 Hours of Fuji

Antonio Giovinazzi made his debut in the FIA WEC at the 6 Hours of Fuji

17.10.2016: Antonio Giovinazzi, together with Sean Gelael and Giedo van der Garde, grabs in Japan

Antonio Giovinazzi, together with Sean Gelael and Giedo van der Garde, grabs in Japan a deserved 4. place at his debut in the FIA WEC 6 Hours of Fuji.



 It was a good training for the Italian driver, who remains focused on the GP2 Series, where he is current leader before the final round in Abu Dhabi on schedule on 27th November.





At the end of a great race, the Ligier JS P2-Nissan of Extreme Speed Motorsports team, driven by Antonio Giovinazzi, Sean Gelael and Giedo van der Garde, finished the 6 Hours of Fuji with the fulfilling result of the 4th place in LMP2 class.



The new sponsor Jagonya Ayam and the three new drivers of the American team grabbed this good result in the season’s 7th round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, at the end of a race which was born in a not too lucky way on the Japanese track.


Giedo van der Garde did a good start but, after the initial stint, his first pit stop compromised a result that could have been better: due to a problem to the start engine Giedo van der Garde went back on track in last LMP2 position.



Furthermore, the malfunctioning of the speed limiter caused to the #30 Ligier an overspeed in the pit lane, sanctioned by the stewards with a 20" stop and go.




Luckily, this was the last problem encountered by the Italian-Indonesian-Dutch crew. Since then, van der Garde started in a great recovery, climbing in 4th place (10th overall) before giving the steering wheel to Sean Gelael. A very fast turn was performed by the Indonesian driver too, who gave Giovinazzi the ESM Ligier when he was still in 4th place.




The last turn was very demanding for the Italian driver, who tried to recover the large gap of about 1 minute from the leading drivers, increasing his pace. He set a lot of fast laps, reducing his gap from the car in 3rd place, the Signature Alpine A460 driven by the French Nicolas Lapierre.



 In the last laps Lapierre and Giovinazzi were divided by a gap under 25” but the ESM driver couldn’t do more: slowed down by 1 pit more than Lapierre, he concluded the race with a well deserved 4th place, by 23”693 from his opponent.


“A good race, a good training in view of my main goal to win the GP2 Series” – said Giovinazzi after the finish – “A great race weekend here at Fuji with Jagonya Ayam, my team mates Sean Gelael and Giedo van der Garde and our team ESM.



We were just a little bit unlucky in the early moments of the race, but we know how many good or bad surprises a race can saves for us. We are conscious we could have fight for the podium or more, but after this race we are confident to present ourselves as a strong crew for next WEC event in Shanghai, in three weeks.



My team mates, our team and I are ready to improve the good result of today, which we grabbed on the first go!”



The Japanese race and the following WEC round in Shanghai on 6th November are the best training for Giovinazzi.





The driver from Southern Italy remains focused on Abu Dhabi, where on 27th November he is determined to confirm his current leadership and win the 2016 GP2 Series.






 
Francesco Candido , Luisa Tuzza  photos FFK Gregory Heirman

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/antonio-giovinazzi-debut-fia-wec-6-hours-fuji---156637.html

17.10.2016 / MaP

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