As the sun rose on a new day at Sebring International Raceway, the hopes of Ferrari factory driver Andrea Fuoco were high. But his aspirations were quickly dashed when blinding sunlight caused the Italian to spin out of contention for pole position in the FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Sebring.
Navigating the daunting 17-turn, 3.74-mile circuit in his No. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE, Fuoco had been on course to secure the top spot in the qualifying session. However, as the reigning European Le Mans Series champion rounded the track’s turn 13, the sun’s rays, reflecting off the aluminum grandstands, temporarily blinded Fuoco, causing him to spin into the runoff area.
The 25-year-old driver was able to save the Ferrari from major damage, and Fuoco, who was unhurt in the incident, was able to rejoin the session. But despite his best efforts, the Italian was unable to regain the lost time and settled for sixth place on the grid.
“It was a very difficult incident,” Fuoco said. “The sun just came out in a fraction of a second, and I had no chance to react. I’m very disappointed that I couldn’t get pole position, but at least I was able to bring the car back without any serious damage. Now I’m looking forward to the race and hope to be able to make up some positions.”
The Sebring 6 Hours will start at 10:30 a.m. EST on Saturday, March 16th. With a track that is notoriously difficult to overtake on, Fuoco’s challenge to improve on his grid position will be a daunting one. The young Italian will be hoping for some luck to make up for the unfortunate circumstances that put him in this position in the first place.