RISI FERRARIS GRAB DETROIT PODIUM AND A FURTHER TOP FIVE FINISH A Detroit double was not to be for the Risi Competizione team today, although the Houston-based GT2 Champions got very close to taking their second consecutive American Le Mans ...
RISI FERRARIS GRAB DETROIT PODIUM AND A FURTHER TOP FIVE FINISH
A Detroit double was not to be for the Risi Competizione team today, although the Houston-based GT2 Champions got very close to taking their second consecutive American Le Mans Series race victory. The team did, however, have both their red Ferrari 430s finish in the top five of the GT2 class, with the #62 car securing their third podium finish of the season. This result contributed valuable points for Ferrari in the Manufacturers' Championship. The race was won by the #45 Flying Lizard Porsche of Henzler and Bergmeister.
Bodywork damage to the left side door, after contact with the Panoz during an overtaking manoever by Jaime Melo, and an electrical issue affecting the pit lane speed limiter meant that the #62 Ferrari F430GT had to make two additional visits to the pits over those planned by the team, one of which was to serve a penalty for pit lane speeding. As they had just taken the lead in class, under the third of the four full course caution periods, it was particularly disappointing.
Some spirited and determined driving by Salo in the second half of the race did, including a great overtaking move on the #44 Porsche seven laps before the checkered flag, ensured that the podium was within reach. Salo completed the last few laps holding the damaged door closed with one hand, driving with the other.
The same electrical issue also struck the #61 Ferrari of Robert Bell and Harrison Brix and the duo -- who also struggled with no radio communication with the pits after the first hour and 45 minutes due to a broken radio antenna lead -- did extremely well to anticipate the team's strategy and come into the pits at exactly the right time. Bell turned some very quick laps during the second of his two stints (he started and closed the race) but the gap to the fourth-placed car was just too great to close for the amount of time remaining in the race.
Risi Competizione Team Principal Giuseppe Risi said afterwards: "The race was ours until we had the door and pit lane speed limiter problems which unfortunately prevented us from taking the win. I'm pleased though with the performance of all our drivers today, particularly those who had to battle against such challenging technical problems. We were able to secure some valuable points for Ferrari today in the Manufacturers' Championship with our podium finish so we are thankful for that."
Harrison Brix (#61 Ferrari 430 GT): "It was a very difficult race considering all the issues we have faced. When you have the pit lane speed limiter fail and no radio, you don't typically finish in the top five and it was really positive to come back to the series and overcome issues beyond our control. I think we could easily have been on the podium without these, and the team should be very proud of the end result."
Rob Bell (#61 Ferrari 430 GT): "It's a pity about the speed limiter not working because whatever we lost there was critical. I was also held up by the GT1 Aston Martin at the start which was frustrating, but apart from that the car was good and drove well. Better luck next time I guess!"
Jaime Melo (#62 Ferrari 430 GT): "I am disappointed. I got hit by the Panoz when I was overtaking it quite early in the race and after that the car didn't handle very well, oversteering badly. I could keep up a good pace until the second pit stop and then the door would not close. We lost time there, made worse by the penalty for the pit lane speeding. We could have won this race otherwise."
Mika Salo (#62 Ferrari 430 GT): "The car was damaged when I took over and we had to make an extra stop as the door would not stay closed. The car was a bit difficult to drive as a result of the damage. There was also an electrical problem with the pit lane speed limiter on both cars so not so much to celebrate -- it's a shame as it was looking very good at one point."
-credit: risi competizione.com