Daytona 24: Risi Competizione final practice notes

Risi Competizione participated in only the final practice for the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Friday, choosing to spend the morning changing the engine and gearbox on the No. 35 Ferrari 360 Modena GT. The field was set by first qualifying on Thursday,...

Risi Competizione participated in only the final practice for the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Friday, choosing to spend the morning changing the engine and gearbox on the No. 35 Ferrari 360 Modena GT. The field was set by first qualifying on Thursday, so the car will start the 24-hour race fourth in the GT class. Ralf Kelleners will start, followed by Anthony Lazzaro and Johnny Mowlem.

"It's great to be driving a Ferrari at Daytona; there's huge history with Ferrari here," Lazzaro noted. "Risi Competizione's preparation is second-to-none, so it's a good atmosphere for a driver to be in. So far, though, it's been difficult to get the car set up for Daytona. This place is really tricky. There's a bit of a compromise on what you can do in the infield to get the car to go fast and there's never enough track time! But right now our car is a good 24-hour car - it's comfortable and easy to drive."

Risi Competizione is also preparing the No. 34 Ferri Competizione Ferrari driven by Mauro Baldi, Ryan Hampton, Justin Keen and Eric van de Poele. The Ferri car will start seventh in the GT class, with Baldi taking the first stint, then Keen, van de Poele and Hampton.

"To have a good team behind you is one of the priorities," van de Poele said. "This year the competition on the track will be very close and every pitstop will be very, very important. Every pitstop must be like clockwork. I think this year the crew will be a bigger percentage of the capacity of the team than the drivers."

Doorless drive:
Mauro Baldi has two wins at Daytona, but he remembers the one that got away. "In 1988, I was running a Porsche 962," he recalled. "I had the pole position and we led the race until two hours to go. Then we had a problem with the left door. I had to drive the last one and a half hours with the door that was locked in. Finally to get rid of this problem, I had to push it off while I was driving! It was very hot in the car, like a sauna. We lost to the official Jaguar and finished second by half a lap."

Fan forum:
Anthony Lazzaro and Johnny Mowlem participated in an open fan forum Friday, answering questions ranging from driver impressions of Daytona to the technicalities of the car setup.

"These people are our fans," Lazzaro said. "They're the people who are really intelligent about sports-car racing and know what they're talking about. They asked some fantastic questions, well-thought-out. It seems lilke they all, like me, have a passion for sports-car racing. It's good to get the fans and the drivers and some of the crew members together so they can talk about things they normally wouldn't be able to ask."

-rc/sp-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ralf Kelleners , Eric van de Poele , Mauro Baldi , Anthony Lazzaro , Ryan Hampton , Johnny Mowlem , Justin Keen
Teams Risi Competizione