Maranello retires after failed rescue bid

Maranello Ferrari

The Maranello Motorsport Ferrari team are officially out of the running to defend their title

Maranello Motorsport is unable to defend its Bathurst 12 Hour title after failing to strike a deal to use AF Corse’s spare Ferrari 458 Italia.

The Australian team’s title defence was dealt an ultimately terminal blow when Tony D’Alberto was involved in high speed shunt with the #99 Craft Bamboo Aston Martin during Friday’s opening one hour practice session.

With the car unrepairable at the circuit following extensive damage, Mark Coffey’s team sought to agree a deal with Italian outfit AF Corse to use the #3 car, which withdrew from the event earlier this week.

Despite lengthy discussions which stretched long into the night, a deal was not forthcoming ending any hopes of defending their crown.

As a result, drivers Mika Salo, Tony D’Alberto and Ben Collins will be left to watch the race from the sidelines with the latter failing to log a lap of the circuit this weekend.

“There was a point when we thought we were close but unfortunately it wasn’t to be,” Coffey told Speedcafe.com.

“Discussions started at about midday yesterday (Friday) with AF Corse in Italy and went on until the late hours of the evening trying to work out a deal.

“I think at the end of the day the AF Corse have plans for that car for the whole season.

“I wasn’t interested in leasing the car for the weekend as it was more expensive.

“I wanted to buy the car. We just couldn’t get on the same page really.

“There was a car sitting here so close, so it was pretty disappointing.

“We will be back next year for sure.”

Coffey also confirmed the team aim to repair #88 car at the workshop in time for the Australian GT Championship opener at the Clipsal 500 later this month.

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