Long Beach, CA, 20 April 2013. Houston-based Risi Competizione finished in 9th place in the GT class of the American Le Mans Series today but the result could so easily have been very different.
On the following lap the first of three full course caution periods was called, and it was at the re-start 13 minutes later – just as the first 30 minutes of the race was ticking over – that the incident occurred which changed the course of Risi’s race.
After what was deemed to be ‘avoidable contact’, Beretta was given a stop and go plus 60 seconds penalty which put the Ferrari a lap down on its competitors, a position from which it struggled to recover.
Olivier Beretta said afterwards: “I got to the hairpin and there was a big confusion and it happened so quick that honestly I don’t understand it, but a car hit me from behind and I was pushed into the back of the No.93 Viper.
“On a street race it’s so easy to have contact. I didn’t do anything on purpose but on the hairpin if you walk next to the car you are sometimes quicker.
With the confusion, all the cars together, sometimes I think the Race Director has to have a little tolerance as it was a racing accident. It’s a heavy penalty and we have to accept it, but in a two-hour race with a 1m20 lap you can’t recover from that.”
The second caution period came 38 minutes into the race and it was while under this yellow that the Risi Competizione team elected to make its single pit stop.
Matteo Malucelli took the wheel and, despite his best efforts and some very competitive and consistent lap times, he was unable to make up the lost ground. The remainder of the race passed without incident for the Italian who was making his debut on the Californian street track.