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Mar 15, 2014 - 04:08 AM
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2014 USCR (Sebring 12): Risi Win Race Against Time To Qualify For Sebring
Posted by: newsla on Mar 15, 2014 - 04:06 AM
USCR News
2014 USCR (Sebring 12): Risi Win Race Against Time To Qualify For Sebring


Houston-based Risi Competizione could have been forgiven for thinking that enough bad luck had been thrown in its path at the opening round of the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship - the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Bouncing back impressively after the horrifying crash at the end of January, the team came to Sebring this determined to improve on the 2nd place finish (GT) gained last year.

 

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Testing began well, with Matteo Malucelli topping the time sheets in the first practice session of the 3-day weekend, but since that time the drivers and engineers have been chasing the optimum set up for the No.62 Ferrari 458 Italia over the punishingly bumpy Sebring surface. A variety of different ambient temperatures, wind strength and direction, surface rubber from other series and tire manufacturers, traffic and red flag stoppages have all contributed to the frustration felt by the Italian driver line up.

In this morning’s final one-hour practice before qualifying, Gianmaria Bruni was caught up in an incident with another car which saw the rear end of the Ferrari extensively damaged. With a little over 5 hours available, the Risi crew knew it had a race against time on its hands to repair the car and get it out for qualifying but they rose to the challenge superbly. After having undergone what team boss Giuseppe Risi referred to as "major surgery", the Ferrari looked pristine as it started the 15-minute session in the hands of GTE World Champion Bruni.

Unfortunately a throttle issue meant that 3-time class pole winner Bruni was unable to apply full throttle over a lap of the 3.74 mile track and he completed just three laps before electing to pit. His quickest time of 1:59.890 puts the Ferrari in 7th place on the GTLM grid, just 0.8s from a front row spot.

The Italian explains more: "Unfortunately we had this issue in qualifying but we have to look at what the boys did after the crash this morning which was an incredible job. They completely rebuilt the back of the car and we were using the qualifying as much to check it was all working okay as to set a fast time. It’s better it happens now than tomorrow and we’ve made good progress on the set up too. Despite not being able to go as fast as we should have been able to, I think we will be right on the pace now."

The Risi crew will now investigate the cause of the issue and the car will have a final shakedown on track in tomorrow morning’s warm up prior to the 10:15am start for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. Television coverage will be available live on FOX Sports 1 from 10 am to 1 pm ET with the remainder of the race airing live on IMSA.com. FOX Sports 1 also will air a three-hour recap at 8:30 am ET on Sunday, March 16.

Risi Competizione is a Houston-based Ferrari racing team led by Managing Director Giuseppe Risi. Since its entry into the American Le Mans Series, and particularly in the opening decade of the 2000s, Risi Competizione has been recognised as the leading Ferrari GT team in North America. The professionalism of the team combined to win two GT championships, take three class victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and achieve 19 outright American Le Mans Series class wins and 31 further podium finishes. Amongst those victories was an historic winning streak in the endurance majors which included multiple victories at the Sebring 12H, 24H Le Mans and Petit Le Mans.


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