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Aug 11, 2014 - 06:54 AM
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Risi's Slick Pit Work Pays Dividends With GTLM Win At Road America
Posted by: newsla on Aug 11, 2014 - 06:52 AM
Risi's Slick Pit Work Pays Dividends With GTLM Win At Road America

Risi Competizione beat the odds today at Road America and, after starting from 9th place on the GTLM grid, the team took its first victory of the 2014 TUDOR United Sportscar Championship season thanks to a faultless performance under pressure by the drivers and incredibly slick and fast pit work by the entire crew.


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Giancarlo Fisichella and Pierre Kaffer recorded their first series win in the No.62 Ferrari 458 Italia, the German taking the checkered flag 1.5 seconds ahead of the No.56 BMW of Dirk Mueller. It is Risi Competizione’s first win since VIR (ALMS) in 2013, and its first at Road America since 2011.

As the only private team in the manufacturer-led GTLM category, and racing against fully-factory backed, two-car entries from BMW, Corvette, Porsche and Viper, Risi Competizione today showed that it ranks with the very best in world-class GT racing. In a race which featured no fewer than six full course caution periods and only one hour and 13 minutes of green flag racing (from a 2 hour 45 minute race), the Ferrari performed faultlessly, the strategy worked perfectly, and the drivers held off relentless pressure from hard-charging competitors to bring home an unmarked car to the finish.

The day, however, belonged to the crew who received the highest of praise from Team Principal, Giuseppe Risi, following the race. The No.62 Ferrari stopped three times during the race, each during a caution period, and the key to the victory came at the second pit stop on lap 24, one hour and 5 minutes into the race.

All the leading GTLM competitors pitted at the same time and the Risi crew’s consistent and constant practice at pit stops and driver changes paid off handsomely. The car came into the pits while holding 5th place in class and, despite taking on a full tank of fuel and four new Michelin tires, plus allowing Fisichella to hand off to Kaffer, the Ferrari beat every other car out of the pits and exited with a lead it was to hold to the end. The team’s final stop, on lap 41 of 61, was equally fast and the team completed the only GTLM sub-one minute pit stop for fuel and new rubber.

An ecstatic Giancarlo Fisichella said afterwards: "It’s a great result. Yesterday was not such a good day in qualifying and we had to start 9th. We fixed up the car overnight, and expected to be quicker and make up positions today. We thought we could maybe fight for the podium, but we didn’t expect to win the race!

"Everything’s gone well and everyone did a fantastic job - me and Pierre, and especially the mechanics in the pits stops. That was the key to winning the race. We went into the pits in 5th and came out 1st and Pierre was able to keep the position right to the end of the race. There were a lot of yellow flags but everything went well so a big thank you to everybody."

A very relieved Pierre Kaffer, who had to undertake four re-starts and withstand huge pressure from the chasing pack, added: "I have to say it was a bit crazy in the cockpit! Today is the day of the whole Risi Competizione crew as they did a fantastic job. All the pit stop practice and driver change practice we’ve done paid off today and it was all worth it. Everything was 100% perfect. It’s a great feeling and Giuseppe Risi is a very patient man, which was rewarded today. He’s competing in this GTLM category against all the factory teams and to beat them in the pits is a fantastic feeling. The boys deserve it today.

"After one of the safety car periods I was really worried as there was a crash on the start-finish with a PC car and the pace car slowed down, and Dirk [Mueller in the #56] nearly passed me on the outside of Turn 1 but everything was fair. In the end it was a hard fight, and no one’s tires were up to temperature so we were all sliding around and we were all going at it 110%. It was good fun, those last few laps!"

The next round of the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship will be the Oak Tree Grand Prix at Virginia International Raceway, VA on Sunday, August 24 beginning at 4:05 pm. The 2h45 minute race will be for GTLM and GTD cars only.

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