RISI TAKE THIRD CONSECUTIVE ALMS PODIUM FINISH AT LIME ROCK Risi Competizione finished second in the ultra-competitive GT class at Lime Rock Park today in the fifth round of the American Le Mans Series, earning valuable championship points to ...
RISI TAKE THIRD CONSECUTIVE ALMS PODIUM FINISH AT LIME ROCK
Risi Competizione finished second in the ultra-competitive GT class at Lime Rock Park today in the fifth round of the American Le Mans Series, earning valuable championship points to maintain a firm hold on second place in the standings. The podium result was tinged with disappointment, however, as a stop/go penalty incurred for a pit lane speed violation -- the result of a malfunctioning pit lane speed limiter -- effectively prevented a charge for victory in the final twenty minutes of the race.
Starting from pole position, Pierre Kaffer held off the hard-charging and fast-paced #45 Porsche of eventual race-winners, Flying Lizard Motorsports, until the 22nd minute of the race when Pat Long barged past, causing slight damage to the exhausts of the Ferrari F430 GT in the process.
Taking advantage of the 2 hour 45 minute race's only Full Course Caution period, Kaffer made Risi's first stop after 72 minutes, handing over the Melo while taking on more fuel and new Michelin tires. There was further disappointment for Risi as they and the rest of the GT2 field lost a lap to the leader under the safety car.
Rejoining in third place in class, Melo did what he does best and went racing...closing down the second placed #90 BMW, passing him some 23 laps later. Despite coming under renewed pressure from the German car, Melo kept the Rosso red Ferrari ahead and set about closing the gap to the class leader. With a splash and go needed by the top two cars in the GT class, there was all to play for in the final thirty minutes until the malfunctioning pit lane speed limiter put paid to Risi's hopes of victory.
Pierre Kaffer said afterwards, "I suppose you shouldn't be disappointed with second, but we all want to win here and we knew we had a good car. It was a really tight race and it was just unfortunate that Patrick [Long] hit me in T1 and put me off line; it was just our bad luck and I don't think he did it on purpose. It was also our bad luck, or their good luck, that they got the wave by and gained a lap on us under the Safety Car. We were 20 seconds behind them then, and lost a position as well to BMW in the pits. It was good motorsport today but if the result had been the other way round we would be happier."
Jaime Melo reflected philosophically on the result: "I'm quite disappointed really but, you know, we tried hard all the way through and just tried to close the gap. It was going okay but then we had the penalty on the final stop and that was that.
"It was a good battle with Joey Hand and although it was close there was no contact. He spun on T1 because there was a Viper on the outside of him and I tried to brake inside but I wasn't side-by-side on turn in. Joey braked later than me and spun.
"I did have a lot of problems overtaking the GT3 cars during the race; they are difficult for us in these events because every single one was closing the door on us."