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Jun 28, 2014 - 07:07 AM
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Fisichella's First Laps Of The Glen, And Kaffer's 24 Hours With The Man Who Fell
Posted by: newsla on Jun 28, 2014 - 07:05 AM
USCR News
Fisichella's First Laps Of The Glen, And Kaffer's 24 Hours With The Man Who Fell To Earth


It is the first visit to Watkins Glen International for Risi Competizione for well over a decade but the Houston-based team did take part in a two-day test here at the track on 21/22 May. Pierre Kaffer drove the No.62 Ferrari 458 Italia during the two days and great progress was made on set up in preparation for the race.

 

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Giancarlo Fisichella, who comes to the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen off the back of his second LMGTE victory with Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, turned his first laps of the iconic New York track this morning in the one-hour free practice session and had a big smile on his face afterwards.

"The track is amazing and I really, really like the layout," said Fisichella. "It’s my first time here and I spent the first few laps learning the track and then step by step was increasing my speed. At the end I think we were quite competitive and I enjoyed driving the circuit. There are lots of nice high-speed corners and ups and downs, and I’m sure it’s going to be better tomorrow when we’ve fixed a set up problem. We had too much understeer in the practice session and that made it difficult to learn the track and be fast.

"Traffic is going to be a big issue for everyone, and I think it’s going to be a bit harder to overtake than at Sebring because it’s a smaller track and there aren’t a lot of places where you have time to overtake other cars. It’s going to be important to be quick in overtaking areas for Sunday."

The Italian’s best lap of 1:46.359 was set before some set up changes were tried, and just one second separated eight cars in the super-competitive GTLM category.

From heaven to Green Hell…

German Pierre Kaffer is making his second 2014 start with Risi Competizione, but this weekend’s 6-hour race comes after a very busy fortnight for the Swiss based Ferrari driver. First of all he was a late replacement at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for an injured Ferrari competitor, and then just one week later he took part in the Nürburgring 24 hour event on the legendary 15.7 mile (25.4km) long circuit. His team mates in the GT3 Audi R8 LMS were former Audi Sport factory drivers Marco Werner and Frank Biela - both well known to American audiences from their time in the ALMS - and the man who fell to earth…Felix Baumgartner. The quartet finished 9th overall from over 160 competitors.

The Austrian skydiver who jumped the 128,100 ft from space in October 2012 completed a number of races around the Nürburgring’s Nordschleife track to prepare for the big race, with Kaffer as his driver coach and team mate.

Pierre reflected on their performance over the weekend: "The main aim before the race was to bring Felix up to the level needed to compete at the Nürburgring 24, and for him there was a lot of pressure. He was with three professional drivers and in my opinion he did a very good job. He never made any mistakes and lapped under nine minutes which was the target for all gentlemen drivers. It was the first time that the team finished in the top ten and they performed just like a full manufacturer backed team all weekend. It was a really great weekend."

Saturday will see two further hours of practice (two x 1-hour sessions) followed by qualifying for Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. The race will be televised LIVE on FOX Sports 1 on Sunday, June 29 starting at 11:00am EDT.

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