Misfire Ends Risi’s Rolex 24

by Nick Smith

Risi Competizione have been forced to retire from the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona with a misfire in the Ferrari V8 of the #62 F458 Italia. The full season TUDOR United Sportscar Championship entrants made it into the tenth hour before Pierre Kaffer brought the car to pit lane with problems. The team, working with engine builders Michelotto, took just half an hour to decide their race was over.

The competitive machine from Houston held the lead of the GT Le Mans class for fifty of the 310 laps they completed.

The Ferrari was in the mix from the drop of the green, battling with the Pratt and Miller Corvettes and BMW Team RLL’s Z4 GTEs. Olivier Baretta, who started the car, said, “Well the Corvette team is very strong and so is Risi. At that level everyone is very professional and I had a good time with the Corvette fight. It was out and clean and stayed like this until the end of my first stint. My problem was on the re-start, I got stuck in the traffic with a PC and could not overtake it. I lost a lot of time but the race is still very long and the car is strong.”

Sixty-three laps later his team mate, Kaffer, brought the car back to the pits. He added, “It was a big shame! At the moment I am very frustrated. I think we did a very good job and made everything perfect before the race. I am so sad for the boys; they really deserved it. For me it was really exciting to drive this race and I think the GTLM class is a very nice class. You need to keep an eye on it and especially with what happened with us. I lost some power on the straight to the ‘bus stop’ and there was a strange noise in the engine so I decided to pit straight away. Unfortunately, we cannot fix this problem and so we have to stop. It’s not a good start to the season and we were thinking something else, but now we will have to stick together and we have to do better in Sebring.”

Team manager Dave Simms said the decision to retire was a business decision. “We think it’s the chassis loom,” he explained. “Something on the left hand side of the electric. So, at the point where we said we’d go out, we were already over 20 laps down, we knew we couldn’t do it. Because it would take a couple of hours to fix and a lot of money to basically go nowhere, so there’s no point in doing it”

Giancarlo Fisichella was the third driver in the effort.

The Risi Competizione team will be back in action at the second round of the TUDOR Championship at the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring on March 21.

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