Portland: Maserati race report

The No. 35 Maserati MC12 finished fourth in the GT1 class in the American Le Mans Series race at Portland International Raceway on Saturday evening. Fabrizio de Simone started the race from fourth on the GT1grid, but quickly took third place...

The No. 35 Maserati MC12 finished fourth in the GT1 class in the American Le Mans Series race at Portland International Raceway on Saturday evening.

Fabrizio de Simone started the race from fourth on the GT1grid, but quickly took third place from one of the dominant Corvettes just two minutes into the two-hour 45-minute race. A hit from a GT2-class car put him off line, allowing the Corvette to retake the position. The team pitted at 43m for fuel and rear tires, but lost valuable time due to a starter malfunction. When a full-course caution started 16 minutes later, the Corvettes were able to pit under caution, gaining a lap advantage on the Maserati. Mika Salo took over at 1h15 and drove to the finish, with one final stop for fuel and tires during a caution period at 1h50. The pair finished fourth in GT1, ninth overall behind the winning No. 2 Audi driven by Frank Biela and Emmanuel Pirro.

Maserati competes with an MC12 in compliance with the rules of IMSA and matches FIA GT Championship GT1 specifications. The team will not score points in the American Le Mans Series championship.

Fabrizio de Simone: "I had quite a good start. I didn't want to take too much risk on the first corner, but I was able to overtake a Corvette on the second lap. We were a little bit faster on the straight lines and it wasn't easy for him to get past. The car was balanced, we were quite fast. Unfortunately, in overtaking a Porsche, he made a mistake and touched me on the back, so it put me in a wider line and the Corvette got past. Otherwise, it would have been a fight for the position. The tires were consistent and the setup of the car was good - it was quite easy to drive, though we had to pay attention to not put too much pressure on the rear tires because of the heat. Unfortunately, we lost a lap with the yellow [caution period], but I think our performance improved this time. And we had a bit of fun with the Corvette driving behind me!"

Mika Salo: "It's a little bit frustrating. The heat was a problem, but when it cooled down, the tires worked a lot better. We put on a scrubbed set at the end and the car was really balanced and quick. The car worked fine all the time, no big issues with the car. But the penalties ended up costing us so much on speed. We are good on the straight line, but the corners are a big problem, so we hope to get some more downforce. I hope I will get a chance to come back and drive at some of the other tracks in the ALMS."

The participation of Maserati in the ALMS has been made possible thanks to the fundamental cooperation of important partners, including Pirelli and team Risi Competizione, that support Maserati logistically. The MC12 is using Pirelli Racing P Zero tires, developed in 2004 and currently used on an exclusive basis in the FIA GT Championship. The successful cooperation between Maserati and Pirelli continues in the ALMS.

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About this article
Series ALMS
Drivers Frank Biela , Mika Salo , Fabrizio de Simone
Teams Risi Competizione