Team Olive Garden bruised but unbowed heading into ALMS Round 6 at Road America after a night in "intensive care" at Mosport Elkhart Lake, WI (August 19, 2003) - After Mimmo Schiattarella's accident attempting to qualify the Team Olive Garden ...
Team Olive Garden bruised but unbowed heading into ALMS Round 6 at Road America after a night in "intensive care" at Mosport
Elkhart Lake, WI (August 19, 2003) - After Mimmo Schiattarella's accident attempting to qualify the Team Olive Garden Ferrari at last weekend's Toronto Grand Prix of Mosport, many thought the damage was so severe the team would be forced out of the race. However, perseverance and teamwork paid off for the seasoned band of racers led by endurance racing icon, Gabriele Rafanelli.
Much of the front of the car was wiped out in a heavy, high speed collision with Mosport's turn three guardrail. Schiattarella was shaken up and bruised in the incident, but released almost immediately from the track medical center. The race car was not so lucky. It took nearly 24 hours in intensive care to return the damaged Ferrari to race-worthy shape, but the "Team From Tuscany" performed a near-miracle.
The vehicle's steel skeleton suffered major damage and needed to be not only repaired but restored precisely to pre-crash measurement and strength. Secondary impacts suffered when massive bundles of the turn three tire wall came crashing down from above had done damage to the engine which normally avoids being affected in this type of crash.
There was no time to test the repair as the team worked non-stop through the night and through the normal morning warm-up session. Driver Emanuele Naspetti's first chance to assess the vehicle's race-worthiness was during the single tour of the pre-race reconnaissance lap. Should anything have been amiss, there would be no possibility to make repairs before the green flag waved.
Fortunately, there was no need. Naspetti pronounced the patient fully recovered. Together with his similarly bruised but unbowed teammate, Schiattarella, Naspetti cut his way from the last row of the grid to a well- deserved fourth in the GTS category result.
Their perseverance paid off as the pair hung on for fourth place in the driver championship standings behind the two Corvette factory driver pairings and one of the ProDrive Ferrari teams. Naspetti and Schiattarella have 42 points each, narrowly ahead of ProDrive's David Brabham and Jan Magnussen.
On race day, watch Team Olive Garden's performance on Speed TV beginning at 2:00 PM Eastern Time. The race can also be followed via live timing and audio play by play by logging in to Radio Le Mans at the ALMS web site, www.americanlemans.com. In addition, Radio Le Mans will GT and GTS category qualification on Saturday, August 23 starting at 2:15 pm Eastern Time.