Eric van de Poele to Drive at Road America

With Risi Ferrari driver Ralf Kelleners unable to participate in the Grand American Road Racing Association event at Road America on July 7-9 due to previous racing obligations, Risi Competizione signed former team driver, and current...

With Risi Ferrari driver Ralf Kelleners unable to participate in the Grand American Road Racing Association event at Road America on July 7-9 due to previous racing obligations, Risi Competizione signed former team driver, and current Cadillac LMP pilot Eric van de Poele to co-drive the historic 4-mile road course with Italian ace Mimmo Schiattarella. Van de Poele competed with the Risi team in 1998, claiming seven podium finishes and two victories in Professional Sports Car Series competition with co-pilot Wayne Taylor. The pair, joined by Fermin Velez, co-drove to a class victory at the 24 Hours of LeMans. Van de Poele, competing with Taylor and Emmanuel Collard of France, took the overall victory at the inaugural Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in 1998, adding to his success in the Ferrari. “It is always a pleasure to drive the Ferrari,” said van de Poele. “The car was not so competitive the last year, but it should be more competitive at Road America. It will be fantastic to drive again and I really want to do a good job. It is the perfect time for me to do this race.” Van de Poele has been driving for the highly publicized Cadillac LMP team this season. He drove to a stellar finish of third in class in the maiden voyage at the grueling twice-around-the-clock event in Daytona with teammates Max Angelelli and Taylor. The trio achieved sixth overall at the 12 Hours of Sebring. “The Cadillac and the Ferrari are very similar,” he said. “The regulations don’t allow a lot of extravagance. The main difference is that the Cadillac is a turbo and the Ferrari is not, but I’m sure I will be quick to find back the feeling of the Ferrari.” “I have to rate this team very high,” he said. “We had a good 1998 season, and every time I have been very successful with the Risi team. It is always good to go back with a team you have worked with before. I am happy to go back with the team for the Road America race. I also want to thank Cadillac for letting me drive with another team and another car.” Van de Poele and Schiattarella previously co-drove to a victory at Road Atlanta in April 1999 in a Lola Judd. They started from the rear of the grid and moved through the entire field to take the victory. Van de Poele has competed in more than 40 different racing cars on over 70 tracks in his 17-year driving career. He has raced in Formula series cars, including Formula One from 1991 to 1994. He found tremendous success in touring car racing, competing in European, British and Spanish touring car championships. Van de Poele has competed at LeMans, either as a test driver or competitor every year since 1991. Schiattarella is a former open-wheel driver with stellar performances in CART and Formula One, the two most prestigious open-wheeled racing organizations in the world. He has competed in sports car racing for the past four years, working on the development of BMW’s prototype racer, as well as driving in the American Le Mans Series in 1999. Last season he also competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, finishing sixth in a Courage Nissan. Ferrari of Houston principal Giuseppe Risi and Technical Director John McLoughlin, who campaigned the Ferrari 333 SP for the 1998 and 1999 seasons as Doyle-Risi Racing, own Risi Competizione. Sponsorship for the team comes from Enron and Coollink.com. The car competes on Goodyear Eagle racing tires.

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Series GRANDAM