SECOND AND 12TH PLACE FINISHES FOR RISI AT SEASON FINALE
Risi Competizione's two Ferrari 430 GTs finished in 2nd and 12th places in today's American Le Mans Series season finale -- a four hour race interrupted by no fewer than 12 safety car periods. Despite challenging for the lead, a third GT2 victory in four races wasn't to be for the 2008 Le Mans 24 Hour champions.
Mika Salo and Jaime Melo brought the #62 car home in a strong second place despite suffering from front suspension failure which severely compromised the handling of the car in the final hour. It was a disappointing result considering that the Risi Ferrari had been able to take the GT2 class lead (after starting from 5th place on the grid) through great track performance and good pit strategy.
Tracy Krohn and Nic Jonsson overcame rude and unwelcome contact from a prototype on lap 10 of the race which caused a left rear puncture and some bodywork damage. Further contact from another prototype left the Texan owner of Krohn Racing in the gravel trap on lap 98 but he fought back with a string of consistently quick laps to make up lost ground and overtook the Ford GT two laps before the end to place in 12th.
Giuseppe Risi summed up the day's events and the team's 2008 season. "We would rather have won but you can't discredit second place, especially considering the problem we had with the front suspension. It was very commendable of Jaime to have brought the car home only 4 second behind the winner -- we certainly had the legs on it.
"It was a little different from last season but this is motor racing. We've won the two biggest races of the year this year and I think Le Mans basically counts for a whole Championship so we have to be somewhat content."
Jaime Melo: "It's a little bit disappointing for me. At the re-start from one of the yellows Dirk hit me up the back and after that the car was strange - it had a lot of oversteer and was really difficult to drive. We then had another yellow and changed tires and the balance improved so I could push more. But suddenly we had the suspension problem and it was difficult, actually really scary; especially on this track where if you go off line you could go off the track altogether. We had a very good car but at the same time even with this problem we could keep a good pace. I had some traffic towards the end otherwise I could perhaps have closed the gap even more."
Mika Salo: "It was a weird race, and it always seems to be the same cars going off the track and causing safety cars. It's such a competitive field here and I don't think we need those cars any more. It looks bad on the TV and it's bad for the show. Our car was really good all the time I was in it and we were easily the quickest GT2 car, pulling away from everyone, and I had no problems at all."
Nic Jonsson: "The end result is nothing we can be proud of. I think we had a potential top six or seven car out there today. Tracy did a good job in the last stint. Unfortunately he got hit in his first stint and we went about 3 laps down. I was very pleased with my own stint. I was running right on pace with the top three or four cars. Again, the Risi Competizione/Krohn team did a great job at having good pit stops, preparing a good car for us. I think now that we are at the end of the year, it's not been too bad. We had a very good year this year with both the Ferrari and the DP so I'm very pleased and looking forward to 2009."
Tracy Krohn: "We started off the race getting hit coming into Turn 11 by an LMP car. That messed up the rear end left wheel and that caused us to lose three laps in the pits. We got back out on the track and ran a few laps before getting hit going up to the Corkscrew; I don't know where he came from. I was doing about 120 (miles per hour) and all of a sudden I was going sideways. Nic got in the car then and ran a really good stint. Then I was able to get back in the car and the last 20 laps I ran the car was really, really good and perfect at the end; as good as it's been any time I've ever driven it. Congratulations to the team. They did a great job getting this car set-up. We'll examine why it was so darn good at the end because it was really perfect! I just kept grinding and kept grinding and we finally passed the 40 car at the end and gained one position."