Le Mans, Sunday 15 June, 16.00 hrs, finish Finished! Ninth in class, 27th overall at Le Mans does not sound like a great result, but the Risi Competizione Ferrari team returns to America with considerable pride in a job well done. One of its...
Le Mans, Sunday 15 June, 16.00 hrs, finish
Ninth in class, 27th overall at Le Mans does not sound like a great result, but the Risi Competizione Ferrari team returns to America with considerable pride in a job well done.
One of its cars led the LM-GT class, briefly, but was stopped by engine failure in the early hours of Sunday morning, while the other lost much of the first six hours as the pit crew tried to locate an electrical problem, then set the pace for the next 18 hours!
Giuseppe Risi, team principal:
It has been a great weekend. Obviously there is disappointment that it took so long to locate the problem with the engine, which was down on power from the start of the race. Finally we had to tackle the job that would take longest, removing the gearbox to check the ignition sender on the flywheel, and there was the problem.
By that time we were 35 laps behind the class leaders and there was no way we could catch up, unless by some miracle. But, since 10 o'clock last night our Ferrari has been about the fastest GT car on the track. If we could have started the race there, we'd have been right there for honors!
We have put fuel in the tank, changed the tires and changed the brake pads, and that's about it.
My drivers have been putting in 4:13s and 4:14s in the night, and I'm very proud of the way they have performed.
We had a very happy moment with the ACEMCO car when it led the class. We put Johnny Mowlem in, because he is a very fast driver, but the engine soon let go. That's racing. We had a good, safe race and that's the important thing, and we look forward to coming back next year.
I'm the rookie in the team, with two very experienced team mates, and there was pressure to perform. At first I wasn't sure if I was learning the track well enough. It's such a long lap, you don't know for ages how well you are driving until you see your lap time on the dash.
I really began to enjoy it during my second stint, and the times started coming down. I could do 4:13s and 4:14s quite easily and I felt I'd done my apprenticeship. For me, Le Mans is tougher than Daytona, by far. It is a long track, tricky in places, with some extremely fast corners. It is very technical and you need some experience here, but this morning I put in two clear laps and it was a wonderful feeling. I just hope I have the opportunity to come back this year. I've got the Le Mans bug!
It has been an enjoyable race for me, with a good top-class team. I have been here in previous years with the Saleen teams, with responsibility for setting up the cars, but this year I missed the test day for a Grand-Am race, and I have joined the team this week as the third team member. Ralf Kelleners set the car up, I just had to get in and drive, and there has been no pressure.
Saturday night was fun, and I managed to set the fastest race lap for the car at 4:13.3, which was nice. Anthony, Ralf and me are a great team together.
The last half hour is really hard on the nerves, but it is absolutely great to do the last stint. Amazing, no matter where you finish, everybody cheers you on!