Risi Competizione experiences déja vu disappointment in final lap at VIR

History seemed to repeat itself today at the Michelin GT Challenge race at Virginia International Raceway (VIR). On the final lap of the two hour and 40-minute race the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM was knocked off track by a competitor and bumped out of podium contention.

Giancarlo Fisichella qualified and started the Risi Ferrari from the fourth position on the grid and immediately advanced to third place on the first turn of the first lap when he made a good pass on a BMW.

He drove the first 31 and final 28 laps of the 90-lap race and was headed for a solid third place finish when the only full course caution of the race was thrown on Lap 87 for a Corvette than had gone off course. Two laps later the green was displayed and in a mad dash to the finish the No. 912 Porsche hit the rear of the No. 62 Risi Ferrari as the top six GTLM competitors on the lead lap dove into Turn 1. The impact spun Fisichella off track and caused damage to the Prancing Horse. The Italian managed to manuever the car back on track and the checkered flag was waved for seventh position in another disappointing finish.

Teammate Toni Vilander drove the middle stint between laps 31 and 62 and maintained P3 for the majority of his stint until pit stops elevated him into the lead before pitting. Fisichella had also led a few laps during his initial stint.

The VIR race was the third disappointing finish in a row for the Risi Competizione team who does not appear to have 'Lady Luck' on their side. The race at Lime Rock in late July and Road America earlier this month ended in disappointing finishes with the No. 62 Risi Ferrari vying for a podiums before the final laps.

The Houston, Texas-based team had hoped they shook that bad luck with they came to VIR, home of three previous victories and one further podium in four attempts. Sadly, they will have to move now to their home track at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas for the next round to break their negative spell.

Rick Mayer, Risi Competizione Race Engineer:

We had a reasonably competitive car. I don't think we had the car to win, but we certainly had the car for a shot at a podium and the last lap incident was unfortunate and took the podium away from us. We'll just keep trying and we'll try next at COTA.

Giancarlo Fisichella, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:

It was a really disappointing race. Once again we were for sure in the podium, like last race, and again somebody shoved us on the last lap. I think it was questionable call to do a green (flag) on the last lap. We were third and ten seconds ahead of [Earl] Bamber (driver of the No. 912 Porsche) at the safety car. It's very unfair; it's not good that kind of racing. It's very unfair and really disappointing.

Toni Vilander, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:

Our ups and downs continue. Another podium washed away in the last lap of the race. The car was handling pretty well. We did a decent job. Not a super job, but a good, consistent job. A lot of drivers and teams had errors so we had a comfortable P3 there at the time. Lap times were pretty consistent. Giancarlo did a good job also today. It's just disappointing, not for myself, but for Giancarlo and the team, Risi Competizione and Ferrari.

Dave Sims, Team Manager, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:

It's a big disappointment when it was a certain P3, a certain podium finish and then there was a full course yellow and then a restart. We just got hit off [track]. We'll have to look at the video. It's just a big disappointment after a fantastic race, good pit stops and both drivers doing a good job. It was a certain P3, no ifs or buts, so a huge disappointment.

The next race for the Risi Competizione Ferrari team is Round 11 of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Round 10 of the GTLM class, is the Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas on September 15-17, 2016.

Risi Competizione Press Release