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Aug 25, 2014 - 06:54 AM
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Risi Take It To The Edge For Second Consecutive Win At VIR
Posted by: newsla on Aug 25, 2014 - 06:48 AM
USCR News
Risi Take It To The Edge For Second Consecutive Win At VIR


The honours for overall victory in today’s Oak Tree Grand Prix went right down to the wire at Virginia International Raceway, and it was Giancarlo Fisichella who took the checkered flag in the No.62 Ferrari 458 Italia to claim Risi Competizione’s second consecutive victory in the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship and third podium in three races.

 

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In the team’s most successful weekend of the season to date, Risi and Ferrari not only claimed overall victory, but also did it having started from pole position. In addition, Giancarlo Fisichella set the fastest lap of the race and a new lap record (lap 57 with a time of 1:43.745), plus the Houston-based squad was awarded the Michelin Green Challenge prize to top it off.

"Giancarlo Fisichella truly showed his class today," said a delighted Giuseppe Risi. "I couldn’t be happier for the entire team, especially after the opening laps didn’t go to plan. The drivers didn’t lose their heads under pressure, and the crew were once again superb in the pits. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Ferrari North America’s 60th anniversary of racing."

In a thrilling conclusion to the race, the Italian superstar and two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE winner made the pass for the lead with just two corners remaining, finishing 0.492s ahead of the No.17 Falken Porsche of Wolf Henzler.

With just seven minutes of the 2h45 race to go, the green flag was shown after the last of three full course caution periods, and - with the Porsche tight on fuel - Fisichella was all over its rear fender, pressuring Henzler at every opportunity. He made several attempts to pass, finally making a superbly decisive and clean move at Turn 11 to clinch the Risi Competizione team’s second consecutive victory at VIR (last year in the hands of Beretta/Malucelli).

The GTLM/GTD only race was action-packed from start to finish and was thrilling for competitors and spectators alike. The Risi Ferrari started from pole position, Pierre Kaffer having clinched his first pole in the series, and it was the German’s turn to take the start. Unfortunately the first lap didn’t go to plan and, after being nudged wide as he exited VIR’s ‘esses’ and onto the grass, Kaffer was forced to make an unscheduled stop in the pits to clean grass from the radiator to prevent overheating. That put the Ferrari at the rear of the GTLM pack but determined and consistent lapping soon put the #62 back into the mix. The strategic timing of subsequent stops for fuel and tires - combined with more rapid work in the pits by the crew - allowed Risi to be in a position to challenge for victory, even after having to make a fourth stop for a splash of fuel 12 laps before the checkered flag.

An elated Giancarlo Fisichella commented: "It’s my first time here at VIR and I have to say it’s my favorite track in America - I love driving on this track! Straight away I had a fantastic feeling with the circuit and I feel so comfortable driving here. I think this kind of track suits our car very well for sure, with Risi winning here last year as well. The car was good and consistent from the beginning to the end and we had good speed on the straight. It was a bit tricky in the corners with our level of downforce but I think that was key to me being able to pass the Porsche on the last lap. The end of the race was so exciting for us and I think enjoyable for everyone around the circuit and on TV! I braked on the limit and went so close to the Porsche, and it was a great fight between us."

A happy and relieved Pierre Kaffer added: "I want to say this victory is very important for the whole team; it’s a team effort, not only for us drivers. The crew did a fantastic job in the pits, they gave us a great car and put us in place for the pole position. My start was pretty good, the car handling was good but unfortunately at the start Dominik [Farnbacher, #91 SRT Viper] tried to dive in. Unfortunately, it was impossible to avoid it, I picked up some marbles and went off to the grass, After that my stint was pretty good and I could close the gap again, and Giancarlo and the guys did a great job. We all saw what happened on the last lap, and we’re really happy to be here."

The next round of the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship will be Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas on Saturday September 20. The 2h 45 minute race will begin at 11:35 am.

Fans of Risi Competizione can purchase officially branded merchandise and apparel at the ShopRisi.com site that features team partner Cinsay’s own in-house made to order, OnDemand items from t-shirts, jackets and smartphone covers to one-of-a-kind and limited number collectibles available only through the network.


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