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May 05, 2014 - 10:02 AM
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Risi Claims Points And 3rd Place After Strong Performance In Monterey Grand Prix
Posted by: newsla on May 05, 2014 - 10:02 AM
Risi Claims Points And 3rd Place After Strong Performance In Monterey Grand Prix

Qualifying: Risi to start from 7th on the GTLM grid

After a very disjointed two hours of practice for this weekend’s Monterey Grand Prix, with a disproportionate amount of time available on track compared to the number of cars all practicing together (55) and a number of red flags, Giancarlo Fisichella took to the track on Friday afternoon for the 15-minute qualifying session for GTLM cars. The Italian recorded a fastest time for the No.62 Ferrari 458 Italia of 1:23.142 to secure 7th place on the class grid in a typically tight qualifying session.


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A newcomer to the technically challenging Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Fisichella likes the track but was frustrated with how the session unfurled: "It wasn’t a very good session for us to be honest. I think we had the potential to be in the top four but I didn’t have one clear lap because of traffic and, on what would have been my best lap, I lost maybe six or seven tenths of a second. It’s a shame as it would have been a good lap."

Race: Strategic tire gamble almost pays big for Risi

Risi Competizione took its first solid points-scoring finish of the season today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca after a strong performance by Giancarlo Fisichella and Pierre Kaffer in the No.62 Ferrari 458 Italia. After taking the checkered flag in 4th place, Risi was promoted to the final step of the podium following a post-race penalty for the No.911 Porsche.

A strategic gamble to change all four Michelin tires after qualifying and start from the back of the grid looked, for much of the two hour race, as though it was going to pay much bigger dividends to the Houston-based team. The Ferrari was leading the GTLM race with 20 minutes to go, and looked to have lost out on a podium place only 10 minutes before the checkered flag.

The fast and furious pace throughout, and the affect that it had on rear tire degradation, meant that Fisichella - in for the second hour - was powerless to hold off hard-charging competitors with fresher tires as the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship’s fourth round was drawing to a close.

Pierre Kaffer was behind the decision to put new sticker tires on and start from the rear of the 23-strong Prototype and GTLM field, and it proved to be inspired. The German cleanly and methodically picked off competitors ahead of him to rise to third place in class by the time he came into the pits for the #62’s only stop at the 58 minutes mark. Fisichella continued the good work of his team mate for two thirds of his stint, losing the lead to the eventual race-winning No.3 Corvette while being passed by a Prototype.

The Italian, said afterwards: "I think the whole team did a fantastic job - Pierre in the first hour, the mechanics at the pit stop, and the strategy - to get us from last to first. In the first part of my stint the car was really good and I was leading easily, but then we had a big drop off from the tires and the grip was getting worse and worse. It was hard to keep it on track, but I did my best and I was so sorry for the team that it didn’t look as though we would finish on the podium. This is a good reward even though I’m still a bit disappointed as I think we had a good chance to win."

Kaffer was full of praise for the whole Risi team and delighted to be racing in the USA with them again: "It was a big pleasure for me to drive with Risi again and thank you to our engineer Rick Mayer for giving us a perfect car. Thank you as well to Giuseppe Risi for trusting me with the decision to change the tires and start from the back; it was really satisfying to be able to hand over the car to Giancarlo in 3rd. It’s been a perfect day for me and I really enjoyed it. We had some great fights with our competitors at the start of the race and also at the end and I think I used the traffic in a sensible way. By the time I handed it over at the end of my stint, we had a real weapon!"

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