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3 September 2017

Pole and second place for Sam in the Six Hours of Mexico

Ferrari and Sam Bird continued their challenge for GTE Pro honours with a pole position and a podium in the Six Hours of Mexico, the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Sam leads the field away from the start in Mexico

A race-long duel with the #95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage saw the #71 AF Corse 488 GTE, crewed by Davide Rigon and Sam Bird, cross the line first - but a penalty reversed the finishing order.

Despite this disappointment, the result strengthened Ferrari's position in the constructors’ standings, while Bird and Rigon made up points on leaders Andy Priaulx and Henry Tincknell in the drivers’ championship.

The podium was built on a pair of phenomenal qualifying laps that earned the duo their second pole position of the season to add to the one at Spa-Francorchamps.

Running first in qualifying, Rigon recorded laps of 1:39:855 and 1:39:688. Bird then took the wheel and fully exploited the car’s potential with an excellent 1:39:162. The time proved unmatchable, and the average time of 1’39”425 earned them pole.

Bird retained the lead from the start of the race, pursued by the #95 Aston Martin and then the two Fords. The two cars exchanged the lead throughout the race until the final two hours, when two full-course cautions restricted the field to 80kmh.

The first saw the #95 pursue a different strategy from most of its rivals by pitting. This allowed Rigon to take back the lead, and the Ferrari retained it when pitting during the second caution for Bird to race to the chequered flag.

However Rigon was ruled to have broken the speed limit during the first caution, and the duo's ambitions of winning were frustrated by a 10sec penalty that dropped the #71 Ferrari to second place behind the Aston Martin.