RISI READY TO RACE THE CHALLENGE OF MID OHIO... Houston, Texas. Tuesday, August 3. With the first leg of the busy summer schedule now firmly behind it, Risi Competizione heads for the scenic hills near Lexington, some 60 miles north of Columbus,...
RISI READY TO RACE THE CHALLENGE OF MID OHIO...
Houston, Texas. Tuesday, August 3. With the first leg of the busy summer schedule now firmly behind it, Risi Competizione heads for the scenic hills near Lexington, some 60 miles north of Columbus, Ohio, for round six of the 2010 ALMS - the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Challenge on Saturday, August 7.
Sharing the classic road course with the Indycar Series this weekend, the 34-strong sports car field from the ALMS includes its most competitive and numerous category -- the production-led GT class. Representing luxury and well-known marques such as Ferrari, BMW, Corvette and Porsche, there are 13 entries in GT with at least eight featuring top class, fully professional driver line-ups. The battles for success are hard-fought and often too close to predict until the final minutes of the race, and have become a huge fan favorite at the events themselves and to the TV audiences.
The 2.25 mile/13-turn Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course has been the venue for countless classic sports car races in the past and, in the eyes of many, is a driver's track. Repaved in 2006, the layout is technical with a mixture of medium and low speed corners. The surface is smooth, with big, flat curbs which give a gain if they can be used -- although overtaking opportunities are limited. While everyone hopes that the storms experienced at Lime Rock won't be seen again, the weather is often variable and is another factor to be taken into account.
Houston-based Risi Competizione will once again field two Pennzoil Ultra sponsored Ferrari F430 GTC cars, and the team is delighted to welcome back Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander to race alongside ALMS regulars Gianmaria Bruni and Jaime Melo. The Italian F1 Ferrari driver made his debut in the series at the Utah Grand Prix in the beginning of July, with his regular Le Mans Series team mate, Vilander, and finished a creditable sixth after a fight through from the back of the grid. Melo and Bruni won the GT category, crowning an extremely strong weekend's performance from the team -- a performance they are eager to recreate in Ohio.
Gimmi Bruni: "Mid Ohio was my first race with Risi in America in 2007 and I've got mixed memories of it. It was great to be with Risi in the ALMS but we had an issue with the fuel light and I ran out of fuel at the beginning of the pit lane...while we were leading! We finished third in the end. It's more difficult than other circuits to pass other cars but, if you are quicker, you will pass. We had a good car in 2007 for here, so I hope we will be better again this year. It's not easy to do a quick lap on this track, but really good when you do, very satisifying.
"We have to have a very good race this weekend and at all the other rounds, on the track and in the pits and get as many points as we can for the championship. At least from now I don't need to have the first 30 minutes of practice to learn the tracks [like at Long Beach, Laguna Seca, Utah and Lime Rock] so that's a bonus for me and the team!"
Jaime Melo: "We've never had very good results there, but our car has been really good for the last two races so this year we expect to be better, considering the improvements on tires and power, and faster than last year. I think it should be a good track for us, and hopefully we can score the maximum points possible. After Lime Rock, which was a big disappointment, we need to look forward to and try not to give the points to the competition. There's still long way to go with 80 points available, but we need to finish races."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "I don't have any idea about the track yet, unfortunately, so I hope to get the chance to go around the circuit with my engineer on Thursday morning and get an idea of it. I'm sure we will have video of a lap from on-board so it will be interesting to watch. I had a fantastic experience at Salt Lake and am very happy to come back again for this Mid Ohio race and have another go in the ALMS. The atmosphere was fantastic, the organisation of championship was really good, and I was impressed. Everything was positive and we were competitive."
Toni Vilander: "I've seen some on-board footage and am relying on Youtube and that until we get to the track. It's nice to learn a new track, but Mid Ohio looks like it has a few tricky corners so we'll do the best we can with the track time we get. Once we've done a few laps, then we can use the data to compare what we have done with what the team knows and can help us with. I enjoy very much the atmosphere of the ALMS and really like racing there -- that's balanced with the time difference and the travelling, which can be tough, but that's just part of it all."