ELKHART LAKE, WIS. (August 10, 2014) - Patience, pit work and race pace were rewarded today as the Risi Competizione Ferrari of former F1 standout Giancarlo Fisichella and co-driver Pierre Kaffer brought home the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship GTLM class victory for Ferrari and Michelin here at Road America.
After a disastrous start to the season, which twice saw the team’s Ferrari 458 Italia eliminated before Fisichella ever got in the car at Daytona and Sebring, the Houston based team, led by team principal Giuseppe Risi, has kept focus, made some adjustments, including the addition of Kaffer, and now sees its customary success. Today’s victory on the challenging 4.0 mile circuit dubbed America’s National Park of Speed and follows a pole and runner-up finish at the recent Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis.
The Risi Ferrari win led a Michelin technical partner sweep of the top eight spots in the factory dominated GTLM class. BMW Team RLL pole winner John Edwards and Dirk Mueller finished second followed closely by the Dodge Viper SRTs of Jonathan Bomarito / Kuno Wittmer and Viper’s Dominik Farnbacher with Marc Goossens. Porsche North America’s Patrick Long and Michael Christensen rounded out the top five
The championship leading Corvette Racing duo of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia finished sixth, followed by teammates Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner and the BMW of Bill Auberlen and Andy Priaulx completed a Michelin sweep of the top eight spots in the GTLM class.
Fisichella moved up from his ninth place GTLM starting position to fifth in the early going. When the leaders all pitted together during a caution period it was the Ferrari that leapt to the front. “We made a good start and the team made a fantastic pit stop. We came out in front and that was the key to race,” said Fisichella of his first victory in the series. “It was great day for us.”
It was not quite that easy. When the race resumed, Fisichella stormed away to a seven-second lead before handing off to Kaffer who, despite a series of caution flags, was able to withstand every challenge in the balance of the two hour 45 minute race.
“Mr. Risi is a really patient man and today we are all happy to bring a win for Ferrari, for the Risi team and for Michelin,” said Kaffer.
“We congratulate our friends at Risi Competizione Ferrari, Giancarlo and Pierre on their first victory of the season,” said Chris Baker, director of motorsports, Michelin North America.
“It is an indication of the quality of the teams, the level of GTLM competition and our commitment to all of our technical partners that in the first eight GTLM races of the TUDOR Championship, eight different Michelin drivers have won the pole, eight have set fastest race laps, all of our teams have at least three podiums and four of our five teams have now scored wins” said Baker.
The next stop on the TUDOR Championship is at Virginia International Raceway on August 24.
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