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FIA WEC: Spa Francorchamps, Race Preview Part Three, GTE

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LMGTE Pro 7 cars

51 AF Corse M Ferrari F458 Italia Gianmaria Bruni/ Toni Vilander
71 AF Corse M Ferrari F458 Italia Davide Rigon/ James Calado
91 Porsche Team Manthey M Porsche 911 RSR Sven Müller/ Kevin Estre
92 Porsche Team Manthey M Porsche 911 RSR Frédéric Makowiecki/ Richard Lietz
95 Aston Martin Racing M Aston Martin Vantage V8 Christoffer Nygaard/ Marco Sørensen
97Aston Martin Racing M Aston Martin Vantage V8 Darren Turner/ Stefan Mücke/ Rob Bell
99 Aston Martin Racing V8 M Aston Martin Vantage V8 Alex MacDowall/ Fernando Rees/ Richie Stanaway

Silverstone produced an odd race in LM GTE Pro with the Aston Martins and Porsches duelling in the early stages after a poor start fro the Ferraris, Gimmi Bruni stymied by a spinning LMP2 car at the start.

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Thereafter though the timing of a Full Course Yellow turned the race in the class on its head with the Ferraris, both of which had stopped under the caution, in a dominant position, and the Astons unable to close the gap sufficiently.

There’s no change to either of the Pro Ferraris, both will feature their regular two man full season crews with the #71 crew of James Calado and Davide Rigon looking more and more convincing.

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It’s a major reshuffle for Porsche though as the team works to accommodate three major programmes this weekend.

With the third LMP1 car, and a TUSCC race at Long Beach to fulfil there are major changes to the WEC Porsche GT crews. Richard Lietz moves over to the #92 car to join Fred Mako as Patrick Pilet and Michael Christensen fly out to the USA for TUSCC duty.

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The #91 Porsche meanwhile sees a pair of factory debutants as Porsche Junior driver Sven Muller is joined by the astoundingly rapid Kevin Estre, on loan from McLaren GT for the weekend! This will be a combination to watch.

There are changes too for two of the factory Aston Martins with Nicki Thiim busy on Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland duty, the #95 reverts to 2 MAN TEAM.

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The #97 Aston meanwhile goes in the opposite direction with Rob Bell the second McLaren GT man to be added to the entry.

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All three Astons showed pace at Silverstone, as did the Porsches, and the Ferraris! Once again this is going to be a dog fight!

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LM GTE AM 8 Cars

50 Larbre Competition M Chevrolet Corvette C7 Gianluca Roda/ Paolo Ruberti/ Kristian Poulsen
55 AF Corse M Ferrari F458 Italia Duncan Cameron/ Matt Griffin/ Alexander Mortimer
72 SMP Racing M Ferrari F458 Italia Victor Shaytar/ Andrea Bertolini/ Aleksey Basov
77 Dempsey Racing – Proton M Porsche 911 RSR Patrick Dempsey/ Patrick Long/ Marco Seefried
83 AF Corse M Ferrari F458 Italia François Perrodo/ Emmanuel Collard/ Rui Aguas
88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing M Porsche 911 RSR Christian Ried/ Khaled Al Qubaisi./ Klaus Bachler
96 Aston Martin Racing M Aston Martin Vantage V8 Francesco Castellacci/ Roald Goethe/ Stuart Hall
98 Aston Martin Racing M Aston Martin Vantage V8 Paul Dalla lana/ Pedro Lamy/ Mathias Lauda

The LMGTE Am grid gets a boost to 8 cars with the addition of the Le Mans bound #55 Ferrari from AF Corse. Alex Mortimer joins the every competitive Matt Griffin and Duncan Cameron. One to watch in terms of performance here, and as a barometer for form for the big(ger) on in June!

Both other Ferraris will be looking for a clean run in Belgium, podium finishes for both the #72 SMP Racing car and the #83 AF Corse 458 showed the potential here.

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Both Porsches by contrast had struggles, Patrick Dempsey struggling for pace on his first visit to Silverstone and after a very taxing week stateside. The #88 car meanwhile had its travails too after a busy weekend for the Proton boys.

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The Corvette too had issues, not all self inflicted either with time lost after contact from the #8 Audi. The team though will surely find their stride in the gloriously thunderous C7.R

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The #98 Aston Martin took the win and goes forward as a clear Championship favourite with Paul Dalla lana producing the goods as every gentleman driver must in this class alongside their Pro-driver colleagues. The sister #96 Rofgo backed car was there or thereabouts on Pro pace from Stuart Hall and Francesco Castelacci but Roald Goethe knows he must find consistent improvements this season to put theta into contention.

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