GT3 Victory for Serralles in Barcelona
London, U.K. – The 2017 Blancpain GT Series came to a victorious end for Felix Serralles and his teammates at the weekend for the season finale of the Endurance Cup. A race win in such a competitive and prestigious series has well and truly reasserted the talent of the drivers of the #88 AMG GT3 and their comrades at AKKA ASP.
Going into the weekend, there was a positive feeling in the AKKA ASP garage as the team had won the same endurance race 12 months prior. However, this time round, the weather had different plans, as the Montmeló circuit was lashed with rain showers during some of Saturday’s free practice and qualifying sessions.
The track was dry, damp and wet at various times in the day and Serralles’ stints in the car were run on wet tyres. Despite all three drivers lamenting about the handling of their car, the #88 AMG ended the free practice third fastest. Refinements were made to the set up and the car handled perfectly in Serralles’ Q2 qualifying session.
The heavens opened just in time for Q3 and a red flag came out as a result of the rain. This hampered Dani Juncadella’s run and led to him having only one opportunity to plaster a flying lap, as the #88 AMG was sent out with a low fuel reserve. Juncadella performed in the wet under pressure and qualified P3, just +0.474s off poleman Robin Frijns in the #17 WRT Audi.
On Sunday, Juncadella started the race, with Serralles and Tristan Vautier taking up the second and final stints respectively. With good date from 2016, the set up of the car had already been prepared for dry conditions and Serralles knew that the car would be behaving in a very different way to Saturday’s wet track.
Juncadella made a clean start with 2 cars in front and 47 cars behind making their launch from the rolling start into the first sequence of corners. Juncadella – who is a Catalan and racing his home circuit – drove his stint with great success, pitting later than his rivals up front and allowing Serralles to start his stint in first place once the #88 AMG rejoined the circuit.
Serralles drove a phenomenal stint, pulling a gap of -4.5s to Jake Dennis in the #17 WRT Audi and then managing the pace with consistent lap times. On his first laps of the day, the Puerto Rican adjusted quickly to the dry track surface and changed his racing lines accordingly, hugging and rubbing the curbs on the inside and outside of the corners, allowing the Mercedes to carry great speed through each corner.
Serralles handed the car over to Vautier for the final stint of the race, completing a second good pit stop by the team and drivers. The Frenchman used his experience from 2016 and drove another top stint, doing everything necessary to bring the car home in P1, just -0.7s ahead of the #17 WRT Audi after 3 hours of racing.
The win was as a perfect birthday present for AKKA ASP team boss, Jérôme Policand, and a thoroughly deserved result for Serralles, Juncadella and Vautier who displayed winning pace on a number of occasions during the Sprint and Endurance Cups. Speaking after the race, Serralles said:
“This year was my first season in GT3 racing. Sometimes we were close to the podium, but then some mistakes were made in the pit stops. What was different today from the other races is that everything went smoothly. It is a special weekend for me, especially with what happened back home. I am sure that everyone is happy to see a Puerto Rican flag on the podium.”
Serralles manager Henry James commented:
“Felix has delivered in bucket loads this season. It’s the first time that he has raced in the strategic scenario of a shared car and he has proven to the team and himself that he is an exceptional team player. He has made a very positive impact on the team and the #88 car and I look forward to seeing him in the AMG GT3 again very soon.
“At this time in the year, we have a number of things to consider for Felix’s 2018 season. It’s a matter of us satisfying Felix’s drive to race the most powerful cars amongst the best competition out there, and ensuring that his career is set sail in a direction with plenty more future prospects that can continue to enhance his racing career and his brand.
“Whether he will be in a sportscar, a single-seater, or both, in 2018 is not yet certain. Hopefully we can find a way of him racing in both, as he has great experience and talent in both fields.”
In light of the recent natural disasters that have torn apart the lives of many people living in Puerto Rico, Felix Serralles and DCM would like to make an appeal to the racing community and race fans to do what they can to support the relief and rebuilding efforts taking place in Puerto Rico. Donations can be made to a number of charities, including Save The Children, which is personally supported by Serralles and DCM.