With the championship battle coming down to the wire, Negri, Francesco Piovanetti and Alessandro Pier Guidi were hoping to take their No. 51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3 to a second podium finish heading into the Sepang race weekend.
A four race championship, the Asian Le Mans Series headed to Sepang for round three of competition. For the first time in series history the race weekend featured both qualifying and the race on Saturday as well as the first time competitors would get the chance to race at the Sepang International Circuit at night.
Getting off to a fast start, the No. 51 Ferrari immediately was second quickest in FP1. That pace held through qualifying on Saturday, landing the Spirit of Race Ferrari on the front row for the four hour endurance race later that afternoon.
An intense storm that brought severe lightning and monsoon-like rains across the track delayed the start of the race with the field taking the green flag behind the safety car and under yellow. Piovanetti managed his first stint in the Ferrari on a rain soaked track with slick tires and brought it into pit lane for a driver change, Negri now behind the wheel.
Starting his stint a lap down, Negri headed back out on a slowly drying track surface. Laying down consistent lap times on slick tires, Negri pushed to the finish of the race to give Spirit of Race its second podium finish of the ALMS season.
The third place finish brought Spirit of Race into a championship battle for the final round at Buriram this weekend. The team now sits just seven points behind the championship leader.
“We had an amazing race,” said Negri. “Francesco (Piovanetti) did a fantastic job keeping the car on track in such difficult conditions. When I got into the car, we were a lap down with slicks on, but the track was still drying. I had so much fun pushing the car as hard as I could. Near the end of my stint, the track was still damp, but I was putting down consistently quick laps. I am proud this team for taking home a podium finish at the end of the day.”
Negri and the Spirit of Race team will head straight to the Chang International Circuit for the 2019/2020 ALMS season finale this weekend. The 4 Hours of Buriram will see the field of LMP2, LMP3 and GT machines on track in Thailand to take on the 4.55km, 12-turn road
Negri and his teammates return to the F1 grade track after scoring a podium finish in the 2018/2019 edition of the event. The trio carry momentum into the event weekend looking to secure the ALMS GT Championship after scoring two consecutive podiums in the previous outings in Tailem Bend and Sepang. Stepping in for Pier Guidi-who will be in World Endurance Championship action-will be Daniel Serra.
The 4 Hours of Buriram kicks off with free practice on Saturday, February 22 with the marquee event on Sunday, February 23rd.
Weekend Schedule (all times local):
Free Practice 1 – 22 Feb 2020 08:40 – 10:10
Free Practice 2 – 22 Feb 2020 12:30 – 14:00
Qualifying GT and GT Cup: 22 Feb 2020 16:35 – 16:50
4 Hours of Buriram – 23 Feb 2020 11:45 – 15:45