Elkhart Lake, WI. Expectations were high after Leh Keen shattered the Road America track record by 3.5 seconds in qualifying yesterday earning Scuderia Corsa their third pole since the young team began competing in the Grand-AM series last fall.
This was the second race behind the wheel of the #63 Ferrari 458 Italia for Leh Keen, the two-time Grand-AM Rolex GT champion. He and his co-driver Alessandro Balzan came to Road America with high hopes for another strong finish.
On his Team performance owner Giacomo Mattioli said “Although the classification is not particularly good, the weekend was a positive one with good performance of the team and some gaining in the chase for the championship.
The top four cars made a risky move, as they are not in contention for the championship and it paid off. I am very happy that Chris had a chance to have his first Rolex race with Scuderia Corsa #64 at Road America. We are looking forward to many more”
After watching his teammate Alessandro Balzan bring the #63 across the finish line in 6th place, Keen said, “well, the final result doesn’t tell the full story about this weekend. We started strong with a good car. The crew guys did a great job in the pits and got us out full of fuel really fast.
Some of the cars were just in a different class in the straightaways and we weren’t able to match their horsepower straight-line speed but the handling of our car was great. In the end, points wise for the championship it wasn’t too bad of a day.
We actually gained points on the car in 2nd place. The big picture it was actually a pretty good weekend all round and now we go to some tracks that have less straights and are more handling tracks where we’ll be stronger for a final sprint for the championship.”
Co-driver Alessandro Balzan in his first-ever race at Road America, drove the #63 in the second half of the race shared his thoughts, “it was hard to improve on my position and defend but I was really happy with the car at the beginning with fresh tires. All the guys at the front took a big risk with the fuel strategy and for some it paid off. But for the championship we gained points on the second. Leh did a great job and I’m very happy to have him on the team. ”
In the #64 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458, veteran Craig Stanton and his co-driver Chris Ruud finished the race in 11th after ball joint issues sent the car to the garage for repairs early on. The crew had spent most of the night repairing the #64 after yesterday’s incident when the car made contact with the barrier during qualifying.
After a valiant effort chasing down the GT pack, Chris Ruud said, “my first pro race was a great experience all the way round. I learned a lot, had a lot of fun. The day didn’t go quite the way we wanted it to for mechanical reasons but that’s part of racing and I still enjoy this track and the car overall was wonderful. Driving with Craig Stanton, he was a great coach, very encouraging and I was happy to have him in the car and helping me through the weekend. It was a great time together.”
Stanton said, “the team did a great job and worked very hard getting the car back on the track. It was great to drive with Chris in his first pro-race this weekend.”
The team prepares for Kansas Speedway on August 17th, live on Fox Sports 2 at 8pm EST.