TWO POINTS FINISHES FOR RISI AT LAGUNA SECA Monterey, California. May 22, 2010. Risi Competizione brought both their Ferrari F430 GT cars home for points finishes in an exhilarating and intensely competitive GT battle held from start to finish...
TWO POINTS FINISHES FOR RISI AT LAGUNA SECA
Monterey, California. May 22, 2010. Risi Competizione brought both their Ferrari F430 GT cars home for points finishes in an exhilarating and intensely competitive GT battle held from start to finish in today's six hour race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, round three of the American Le Mans Series presented by Patron.
The #62 car, driven by Jaime Melo and Gianmaria Bruni, finished in fourth place -- battle scarred but still running strongly at the checkered flag -- while the Krohn Racing piloted #61 Ferrari took ninth place after a solid run. Bruni and Melo have now slipped to third place in the ALMS title chase, but are only ten points behind eventual race winners, Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister of Flying Lizard Motorsports with just a third of the season completed.
In unseasonably cold and windy conditions, the GT battle made for compulsive viewing and the ten full course caution periods were scarcely needed to close up a train of seven cars all racing hard and often separated by just seconds. Melo lead the race in the opening stages, but fell victim to a prototype's mistake after 15 laps at the infamous Corkscrew corner and temporarily lost the class lead to the Extreme Speed Motorsports Ferrari for a period of ten laps.
Pit stops and caution periods shook up the order from time to time, but the Risi Ferrari remained in the hunt for victory until contact with a GT competitor caused a section of the front bumper to be detached. This, combined with further front bodywork damage obtained later in the race, meant that the handling of the car was compromised and the drivers had to adjust their level of attack to counter the lack of aerodynamics.
As the hours and minutes ticked by, and both darkness and temperatures fell, the #62 Ferrari remained in a points winning position and was able to profit from the misfortune of other competitors to finish eighth overall and fourth in class.
Gimmi Bruni said afterwards: "We were fast but not so lucky today. For a lot of the race we were able to lead, or pass and lead again after pit stops, but in the end it was very difficult because we had no front aerodynamics."
The Krohn green #61 Ferrari of Tracy W Krohn and Nic Jonsson had a largely trouble-free race, although they were twice extremely unlucky to lose a lap to the GT class leaders at caution periods. Tracy Krohn survived a potentially detrimental collision when he was cut off by a GTC class car at Turn 5. The two cars spun in tandem like synchronized swimmers, but he managed to keep the car under control and was able to continue without having to make an unscheduled additional pit stop.
Tracy Krohn said afterwards: "It was just totally insane out there today; there was so much contact. There was so much grit on the track, every time I came through the Corkscrew it was like a different turn; a different line every single time. It was never boring.
"It was relatively well behaved in that there weren't as many "P" (prototype) cars as there had been in past years but there was still a lot of contact with them. I know I got hit a couple of times and spun around twice. All in all, the car was very good; it felt mechanically very sound and very predictable. We had a little bit of bad luck with yellow flags in that we got stuck behind the leader and lost two laps. It was very unfortunate but that's okay because in the end we got a top ten finish so we should be satisfied with that."
Krohn's #61 Ferrari team mate, Nic Jonsson, felt that the race had been a great warm up for them both in preparation for Le Mans. "There was a lot of contact out there today, as there always is at Laguna Seca, but we survived. We ran all six hours and finished in ninth place. I personally feel that's very respectable. We are driving against all factory cars out there; that's the only thing these guys do. We also race in a different series full time so we don't get to drive this car very much, so I'm very pleased with the whole result and my own performance. I managed to run leader pace for my second and third stints and Tracy did a fantastic job keeping the car on the track and clean, running very good, consistent lap times. I feel very good about this going into Le Mans (June 12-13). We have a very good, well prepped car and the Risi guys always do a good job for us. This car is going to fantastic fun and good for us at Le Mans."
The Houston-based Risi team now face a very quick turn-around in order to ship both Ferrari F430s to France for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June. The team's transporters will leave Monterey at midnight tonight and a team of drivers will work in tandem in order to get back to Houston on Monday. The mechanics will then have to work extremely long days to repair and prepare the Ferraris before their departure to France on Thursday.
The next round of the 2010 American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron will be the Utah Grand Prix at Miller Motorsports Park, Salt Lake City, Utah on July 11.