Risi clinch last lap thriller at VIR in TUDOR Championship


Credit: IMSA

Risi Competizione have good luck to thank for scoring back to back victories in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at Virginia Internatioanl Raceway.

For Giancarlo Fisichella it was the last lap that he made his move – on the Porsche 911 of Wolf Henzler and Team Falken Tire – and thankfully he made it stick.

The last lap scrap was set up thanks to a late caution period due to one of the Porsche North America 911s stranding itself out on track which was finally lifted in the last six minutes of the 2 hour 45 minute race.

Team Falken Tire got its best result of the year at VIR and it was set up thanks to solid work by Bryan Sellers in his initial stint by essentially being in sunday driver mode and saving enough fuel to save time on pit stops and propel them to the lead of a race contested only by the GT ranks.

“Sometimes you have to take a chance; we took a bit of (a gamble on) fuel and it paid off,” said Henzler. “Some other times you take a chance and you can’t make it. This time we were lucky, other times we were not. I think we deserved it, we deserved to be on the podium here.” 

For Fisichella the second win of the season for the Ferrari 458 with team mate Pierre Kaffer was testament to the strength of the car beneath them: “I knew it was the last lap and I did all I could do. I got close to Henzler and I was lucky because I even had a good exit. Once I took the lead, I was quicker than him in the straights.” 

In third place and desperately unlucky to not be able to take advantage of the melee ahead was John Edwards in the #56 BMW Team RLL Z4 who scored his sixth podium this season but is still searching for a victory coming into the balance of the season.

However, in the championship standings the #3 Corvette of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia still leads the class with 270 points.

GTD winner Turner Motorsport (Credit: IMSA)
GTD winner Turner Motorsport (Credit: IMSA)

In GTD it was the above BMW Z4 of Turner Motorsport and Dane Cameron that secured the class victory for the fourth time in the inaugural TUDOR Championship but this first place was a lot more comfortable than the sister GTLM class.

Although they finished just 1.24 seconds ahead of their nearest challenger, they had their lead secured with 45 minutes to go having got past Damien Faulkner following a solid tussle.

The championship after this race is now a three way battle for the top as Turner join Alex Job Racing and AIM Autosport with 244 points.

“It’s a big gain for us to come in 12 points behind and leave tied,” Cameron said. “We’re in a good position now, but we’re not going to change our strategy. We’re not going to run conservatively and run for points or anything. We’ll do what we need to win this championship.”

In second place at the Oak Tree Grand Prix was Alessandro Balzan with Patrick Dempsey in third place and well earned podium thanks to canny pit stop strategy.