Fuoco Reveals Strategy Behind Memorable WEC Imola Pole Lap

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Fuoco explains secret behind “special” WEC Imola pole lap

During the decisive Hyperpole session, the Italian driver piloting the factory #50 Ferrari 499P Le Mans Hypercar discussed how completing two warmup laps proved pivotal in securing his first pole position since the previous year’s Le Mans 24 Hours. His strategy involved two warmup laps to bring the tires to optimal temperature without overstressing them, a tactic that paid off handsomely.

This approach allowed him to improve his lap time from 1m29.735s to 1m29.466s, placing him 0.419s ahead of the field and 0.635s faster than the leading non-Ferrari competitor, the Penske Porsche Motorsport-run Porsche 963 LMDh driven by Kevin Estre.

The driver emphasized the importance of their tire management strategy, noting that their decision to delay pushing for fast laps until later than their competitors allowed them to maintain tire performance.

This strategic advantage became apparent as the Ferrari team capitalized on their understanding of tire management to secure pole position. Their pre-planned approach of completing two warmup laps to ease the tires into optimal temperature proved effective in the intense qualifying session.

Fuoco Reveals Strategy Behind Memorable WEC Imola Pole Lap
Fuoco Reveals Strategy Behind Memorable WEC Imola Pole Lap (Credits: Motorsport)

WEC rookie Robert Shwartzman, driving the customer AF Corse-run 499P, mirrored Ferrari’s tire management strategy and secured second place, contributing to a Ferrari lockout of the top three positions. Despite his inexperience in Hyperpole sessions, Shwartzman expressed satisfaction with securing a front-row starting position, acknowledging the advantage held by more experienced drivers like his teammate Antonio Fuoco.

Fuoco, reflecting on his pole position lap, credited his consistent performance throughout the session and his heightened motivation from racing at the team’s home event. He described the lap as special and highlighted the additional boost he felt from the support of the Tifosi (Ferrari fans). Fuoco’s ability to extract additional performance on his second flying lap underscored his mastery of the qualifying session.

While pleased with their qualifying positions, both Shwartzman and Alessandro Pier Guidi recognized areas for improvement. Shwartzman acknowledged his need to refine his approach to match the clean laps of more experienced drivers, while Pier Guidi expressed confidence in the team’s race pace despite struggling slightly during his push lap.

Ferrari’s strong qualifying performance set a promising stage for the upcoming race, with the team poised to capitalize on their front-row lockout and competitive race pace.


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