RISI FIGHT THROUGH FOR SUPER SECOND AT MOSPORT After yesterday's dramas within Risi Competizione, with major incidents and illnesses involving cars and drivers, today's Mobil 1 Presents The Grand Prix of Mosport was thankfully, and ...
RISI FIGHT THROUGH FOR SUPER SECOND AT MOSPORT
After yesterday's dramas within Risi Competizione, with major incidents and illnesses involving cars and drivers, today's Mobil 1 Presents The Grand Prix of Mosport was thankfully, and blissfully, trouble free for the Houston-based team. It wasn't quite so trouble free for the organisers, however, and the event finished behind the Safety Car 26 minutes earlier than scheduled following a massive crash involving a GTC Porsche. That car's driver, like Risi's Pierre Kaffer yesterday, was fortunate to walk away unscathed.
Toni Vilander and Gianmaria Bruni drove a superbly judged race to take the No. 62 Pennzoil Ultra sponsored Ferrari F430 GTC from the back of the starting grid through to second place in the manufacturer-led GT class behind the No. 45 Flying Lizard Porsche of Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Long.
The result means the Italian retains his second place in the Drivers' championship and has pulled away slightly from the BMW drivers. Both Ferrari and Risi remain in third place in the Manufacturers' and Teams' title battles, 12 points behind Porsche/Flying Lizard Motorsport respectively. With 30 points available for the ALMS finale, Petit Le Mans, in a month's time, the championship is still very much in play.
With Bruni's regular team mate Jaime Melo being incapacitated by illness this weekend, the team was extremely fortunate to be able to call upon the talents and experience of Finn Toni Vilander. He became available after the withdrawal of the No. 61 car following a practice accident yesterday and, together, with Bruni, couldn't have done a better job in securing the eventual result. A victory was almost within the team's grasp but the final pit stop saw the Risi team narrowly beaten out of the pits by the winning Porsche, despite the Ferrari team's decision to take just left side tires rather than a full set.
Given the run up to the race, Team Principal, Giuseppe Risi was delighted with the outcome. "Our drivers did a tremendous job today after starting from the back. They passed everyone for position under green flags and not yellow, had a very clean race and stayed out of trouble. They also nursed their tires well to get the best out of them. I think we would have had the legs on the Porsche had the race re-started."
Gimmi Bruni: "I'm really happy with the result considering we started next to the ambulance! I'm not disappointed. We had a nice battle and fights with the best teams out there, and it was fun racing with Jorg but I just couldn't get by. I tried a few times, inside and outside, but he closed the door as you would expect. In the last few laps I had some traffic, lost a bit and then was catching him again but had the red flag. We had changed just two tires in our last pit stop to try and beat the No. 45 out but we couldn't. It was close, but unfortunately they were just ahead."
Toni Vilander: "It's a nice way to finish a very busy few months for me. The last few days have been full of ups and downs and I want to dedicate the result to the whole Risi Competizione team and thank Ferrari for the trust shown in me. When I was told I was going to drive the No.62 car, I just used the rest of the time to get as comfortable as possible with the crew around me, and to get the best result possible. We only lost the race by a very small difference, and I hope to continue to race again with Risi as it was a great experience.
"The car was running really strong in my stint. There were some corners where I could really eat up the gap to get to the drivers in front, and some other corners where we were really equal. I just didn't want to take too many risks but once I decided to overtake a car I just went for it. It worked out well and the car kept running well in the first hour with just a bit of tire performance drop off towards the end. That was because I had had to push and overtake cars and maybe took some more out of the tires."