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17 April 2016

Home win for Sam on Ferrari pro debut

Sam Bird wrote another memorable chapter in his Silverstone story of success by taking pole position and victory on his debut as a Ferrari factory driver in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Sam Bird and Davide Rigon celebrate

Partnering Davide Rigon in the #71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE, Sam helped the team to a dominant weekend in the 6hrs of Silverstone.

A combination of hard driving, flawless team strategy and the performance of the new 488 GTEs saw AF Corse take a one-two finish in the GTE-Pro class, while the team also triumphed in the GTE-Am class with its #83 Ferrari 458 Italia.

For Sam and his team-mate, their pole position allowed them to lead from the start and gradually increase their margin lap-by-lap. By contrast the sister #51 car had a far more torrid path to second place, recovering from a technical penalty that put them in last place.

By topping qualifying, Sam became the first driver to take WEC poles in all of the LMP2, GTE-Pro and GTE-Am classes, and his victory followed wins at the Home of British Motorsport in 2012 (World Series by Renault), 2013 (GP2) and 2015 (part of his championship-winning LMP2 season).

Sam's Ferrari 488 GTSpeaking to Sportscar365.com, he said: "It feels amazing. Great for me and Davide to start the season with a win. It looked clear sailing but it really wasn't - everything had to be perfect. Everybody did their part really well: Davide drove superbly, I did my bit, and we brought home 26 points, which is what the aim was."

The next round of the WEC season sees Sam in action at Spa-Francorchamps on May 7 but, before then, he will be back on Formula E duties for DS Virgin Racing as the electric series takes to the streets of Paris on April 23.