NO RAIN FOR RISI'S PARADE AT ROAD AMERICA A podium finish proved to be just out of the grasp of the Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT at Elkhart Lake's Road America track today, despite the Houston-based team challenging hard and running in the...
NO RAIN FOR RISI'S PARADE AT ROAD AMERICA
A podium finish proved to be just out of the grasp of the Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT at Elkhart Lake's Road America track today, despite the Houston-based team challenging hard and running in the top three for much of the second half of the race. A fifth place finish at the checkered flag was, however, enough to maintain a strong hold on second place in the GT2 points standings behind the Flying Lizard Porsche team. The victory for the seventh round of the American Le Mans Series went to BMW -- the marque chalking up its first win since its return to the ALMS.
It was a day for the strategists at Road America. Although the hoped-for rain (hoped for by Risi in order to provide some much-needed power equalization through the field) failed to fully materialize, Risi gained places during the race through slick pit work and some smart and consistent driving, notably by Pierre Kaffer.
Pit stops on laps 28 and 52 were carried out during two of the three full course caution periods. Unlike the rest of the GT field, the team elected to take on fuel only at the second of the two stops and were able to exit into second place between the two BMWs. They had earlier profited from a one-lap advantage over their rivals when the first yellow fell just as the leaders had lapped the rest of the GT2 pack.
Risi's strategy gamble looked as though it might pay out handsomely, but ultimately fresher tires on the competition meant that Pierre Kaffer wasn't able to maintain his earlier pace and he dropped back from second to fifth in the final 13 laps.
"It wasn't easy because we aren't the fastest car on the straits; we are the slowest, and it was a fight all the way," said the German after the race. "We could stay in touch with the leaders, but our only chance to finish second was to stay on old tires. It just wasn't enough to keep the position towards the end.
"It was nice to do the second half of race for a change and the Ferrari was good as we'd made quite a few changes over the weekend. We're not fast enough to properly fight with the Corvettes, Porsches or BMWs; over one or two laps you can take high risks and do a good time but, if you're in traffic, it's a struggle.
Reflecting on his debut at Road America, Kaffer continued, "This was my first time here and I really, really enjoyed it. It's a beautiful race track. For the rest of the season we are now going to tracks that I know so we will continue to try to do our best and fight to the end of the championship."