Risi Competizione have scored their first podium of the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship after taking advantage of penalties at Monterey.
The event started off in a mixed fashion for the Risi team with practice taking place for the full 55 car grid meaning Giancarlo Fisichella – who has limited running at Laguna Seca – had only the 15 minute qualifying session to really get some clearer running at the California circuit. However, he did set a time good enough for seventh which was about average under the circumstances.
The Italian said: “It wasn’t a very good session for us to be honest. I think we had the potential to be in the top four but I didn’t have one clear lap because of traffic and, on what would have been my best lap, I lost maybe six or seven tenths of a second. It’s a shame as it would have been a good lap.”
Onto the race and it was Pierre Kaffer who started the Ferrari from the pit lane after the team took the bold decision to start on four brand new Michelin tyres and start from the pits.
The gamble seemed to pay off for the team as the car – which at this point had been handed over to Fisichella – led the GTLM class with 20 minutes to go. However, with the tyres rapidly going off they were passed by a number of cars, including the Corvette of Antonio Garcia, Nick Tandy in the Porsche as well as Bill Auberlen in the BMW.
With fourth place the end result when the team crossed the line, it looked like they missed out on a podium by sheer misfortune. However, a stop and 60 seconds penalty given post-race to Tandy saw the team promoted up to the podium – a just reward for the bad run of form the team have had so far this season.
Kaffer said: “It was a big pleasure for me to drive with Risi again and thank you to our engineer Rick Mayer for giving us a perfect car. Thank you as well to Giuseppe Risi for trusting me with the decision to change the tires and start from the back; it was really satisfying to be able to hand over the car to Giancarlo in 3rd. It’s been a perfect day for me and I really enjoyed it. We had some great fights with our competitors at the start of the race and also at the end and I think I used the traffic in a sensible way. By the time I handed it over at the end of my stint, we had a real weapon!”