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Corvette drivers say “questionable” penalties value Fuji WEC win

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Corvette was within the hunt for victory for a lot of the six-hour Japanese enduro, with the group’s sole C8.R having fun with a number of stints within the lead after Keating certified the automotive on pole place.

Nonetheless, Keating needed to come into the storage to get the right-hand facet door changed after he was concerned in a collision with the #54 AF Corse Ferrari of Thomas Flohr within the third hour. A 30-second cease/go penalty for the incident dropped the #33 Corvette additional down the order.

The #33 crew had circled again to the lead by the fifth hour, just for silver-rated Nico Varrone to get hit with a time penalty of 10 seconds for forcing the #86 GR Racing Porsche off monitor.

Keating, Varrone and Catsburg ultimately completed third on the street, 22s behind the profitable #54 Ferrari, however had been promoted to second after Toyota junior and WEC debutant Ritomo Miyata was penalised for rushing throughout a full-course yellow within the #57 Kessel Racing Ferrari.

Whereas the stewards made it clear that the Corvette drivers had been wholly accountable in each {cases}, even describing Keating’s driving as “a harmful act of sportsmanship” and “unacceptable”, the group took a special view of the incidents.

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Catsburg described the 2 penalties the American squad obtained within the penultimate spherical of the season as “questionable” and feels the group misplaced out on what ought to have been its fourth win of the season in six races.

“It’s good to come back out of right here with a podium, but it surely was clear that we should always have received the race,” he mentioned. “With out the penalties, we by far had the most effective technique. Ben and Nico did a tremendous job fuel-saving. 

“We had, I might say, two questionable penalties and with out these we’d have received by a rustic mile. It’s a disgrace however these are a part of it. 

“A minimum of we now have received the championship already, so we will’t complain an excessive amount of. These races are a part of it as effectively.”

Keating was battling with Flohr when the 2 automobiles got here to blows going into the Dunlop nook, with Flohr’s Ferrari despatched broad over the grass earlier than returning to the monitor behind the Corvette.

In its verdict, the stewards mentioned Keating had misjudged the space to the #54 Ferrari and there was “no legitimate motive” for contact between the pair, however the American driver felt it was nothing greater than a racing incident.

“I can perceive why they [the stewards] seen it the way in which they did,” mentioned Keating. “To me, we got here collectively.

“I used to be proper up subsequent to him and it was my intention to make his braking line tighter. As I went to get near him, he came to visit to get into the braking line and the actual fact is that we got here collectively. 

“However as a result of the traditional line is to exit broad for the brake zone, they deemed I went into him greater than he went into me. I felt prefer it was a racing incident.” 

Flohr, Castellacci rejoice first win since 2017

Flohr and team-mates Francesco Castellacci and Davide Rigon recovered from the contact to take an unlikely win within the #54 Ferrari, six years after Flohr and Castellacci final received a GTE Am race on the similar monitor alongside now-Ferrari Hypercar driver Miguel Molina.

Podium: #54 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO: Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellacci, Davide Rigon

Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Flohr mentioned he was fortunate to keep away from hitting the limitations positioned on the within of the Flip 10 right-hander in the course of the incident with Keating, with the Swiss driver in a position to get the automotive safely again on the monitor after a visit by the grass.

“It was an enormous scare after I was hit by the Corvette,” he mentioned within the post-race press convention. “Fortunately sufficient my previous rally expertise allowed me to maintain the automotive on the grass and go straight and never into the wall and we may recuperate. 

“That’s synonymous with how the group is performing. We had been put down yet another time, we got here again and we fought more durable and I believe that is the spirit of the group and I could not be extra proud of this massive, massive win in Japan.”

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