Hailstones and heavy rain stop Kessel Racing Ferrari at 12h-race at Spa


An early end to a promising weekend: After starting from the third row into the first part of the 12h-race at Spa-Francorchamps, just at the first hour hailstones and heavy rain turned parts of the legendary track into a river. Especially Eau Rouge saw cars going off left, right and centre – and due to these incredible conditions, Nicolò Rosi had no chance to control the #5 Ferrari 296 GT3 and spun out heavily in the famous corner. Luck was on his side as he escaped the accident unharmed.

Changeable conditions where the order since the start of the weekend. However, after a good free practice the team started hopefully into the three qualifying sessions. And the drivers did not disappoint. After great lap-times by Nicolò Rosi, Fons Scheltema and finally Fran Rueda, the drivers qualified the #5 Kessel Racing Ferrari in P5 in class and 6th overall.

Whilst the cars prepared for the race in the starting grid, the weather was damp but there was no apparent rain in sight. As the green lights drew closer to start the first five hours of the 12h-race, the dampness of the track ebbed away. As one of the highlights of the year went underway after two formation laps, Rosi, who was behind the wheel of the #5 Ferrari 296 GT3, kept a cool head at the start.

From lap 7, the Swiss pilot was under immense pressure by the #71 Audi, but he gave him no opportunity to take over 6th position. In the first 45 minutes, he made-up one more position and was comfortably running in 5th place.

At almost exactly the hour after the start of the race, hailstones came thundering down and in combination with heavy rain, turning Eau Rouge especially bad with cars going backwards. The 7.400 metres of legendary asphalt turned into a river and unfortunately the #5 Kessel Racing Ferrari also fell victim to these conditions, seeing its race come to a halt at Eau Rouge.

The car would have had the potential to making the podium, but the team will be back soon to get revenge on this incredible race track. The entire Kessel Racing team thanks their drivers from the Ferrari Challenge pool Nicolò Rosi, Fons Scheltema, Andrew Gilbert as well as Fran Rueda.

Kessel Racing will next be racing for the Endurance Le Mans Series and Michelin Le Mans Cup at Paul Ricard (France) on the first weekend in May.
Team Quotes

Ronnie Kessel, Team Principal
“It´s always something special to come racing at Spa as it is such a special track with a lot of history. But it is also famous for its never predictable weather conditions, and yesterday was yet another proof of how tricky the weather can change from one second to the other. Spa is not only one of the most challenging race tracks, but when it gets wet, it´s almost unmanageable. We are all very disappointed to retire from the race so early on, but the most important thing is that Nico was not hurt, as the impact was very heavy.”

Driver Quote Ferrari 296 GT3 #5

Nicolò ROSI (Switzerland)
“The weather was what you expect from Spa. I had a great responsibilty to start the race and it was a real privilege to start the race at this amazing track. At the start, I stayed focused and out of trouble. Once the chaos cleared after the opening laps I found a good rythm. But we knew that overall, the weather would be our biggest challenge. The Ferrari felt great and the downforce suited really well to this track, we really got the best out of the aerodynamics. Ferrari has had so many successes here at Spa so it would have been great to add another one, but unfortunately we had an early retirement.”