Jul 1, 2024

Monaco Increase Management driver David Vidales produced an outstanding performance in appalling conditions in the CrowdStrike 24 Hours of Spa (Belgium), round 4 of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe. Vidales acquitted himself extremely well in what was only his second-ever GT race and first-ever 24-hour event.

The 22-year-old Spanish driver, who was sharing the #71 AF Corse – Francorchamps Motors Ferrari 296 GT3 with his French team-mates, Thomas Neubauer and Vincent April, did the bulk of the driving, especially during the night hours in prohibitive conditions, always gaining positions and showing a strong pace.

David was in confident form right from the start of practice, through qualifying and during the exhausting and complicated weekend race and he always held his own well against the #51 Ferrari 296 sister car of his more experienced brand-mates Alessandro Pier Guidi, Alessio Rovera and Davide Rigon, who were eventual runners-up.

Starting from P6 on the grid of the iconic 7.004 km circuit after qualifying P4 in combined and P6 in Superpole, the trio of drivers nearly always figured in the top 10 and even ran as high as P3 in the first third of the race, before heavy rain began to fall at around 11 pm in the evening.

“That was probably the most difficult race I’ve ever done,” declared David. “I think the conditions were extreme. I drove most of the time before we had to retire the car. I did a triple stint as well during the night, which was my first time in the night with the rain. It was the worst you can get in Spa, which is not an easy track in those conditions. At one point I tried everything. There was one run where I had to go with slicks for a long time when it was raining, because we had just boxed and we could not box again. So I had to survive on them until the end of the stint. Until the incident it was a very good race, we were always gaining positions, and in comparison with the pace of the sister car, we were very good in all the conditions.”

Following a multiple accident during the night involving Vidales, the #48 Mercedes and the #93 Ferrari of Wadoux, at around six o’clock in the morning the AF Corse team took the decision to retire the #71 Ferrari after it had lost too much time.

“When I was coming back in and overtaking, I got hit a little bit by one car and then lost control under braking and I just smashed into the other Ferrari and the Mercedes that were doing turn 1. It was a racing accident,” he added. “There was a bit of damage to the suspension, but we still had to do the mandatory five-minute technical stop and didn’t lose a lot of time. When the other driver went out the car was fine, but we were already three laps down and there was no chance of catching up, so the team decided to retire the car.“

“All in all, it was a challenging first 24 Hours. Driving five hours during the night and in the heavy rain of Spa was definitely not easy. We were always in the fight until we had to retire the car early in the morning due to an incident. A big thanks to all the AF Corse family, Ferrari and all my sponsors and supporters. Now onto the next one.”

The next time Vidales will be racing with the #71 Ferrari will be round 6 of the championship, and the third GT World Challenge Endurance Cup encounter, at the Nürburgring on 26-28 July.