Maranello, 7 August – The fifth round of the American Le Mans Series at the Mid-Ohio circuit was an exciting rollercoaster for the Risi Competizione Ferrari team which then ended just 27 minutes prior to the chequered flag, when the 458 Italia GT2 No. 62 suffered a mechanical failure, following a collision with a rival car.
Having started from third on the grid, the Houston team’s crew of Jaime Melo and Toni Vilander were lapping at a strong pace, immediately moving up to second. At the end of the first hour came the first knock back, when Vilander was given a one minute penalty for colliding with a slower car, which dropped the Risi Ferrari to ninth. Making the most of the yellow flag periods and well run pit stops, the Houston team pushed on to make up ground, making its only refuelling stop after 1hr 22 mins. With Melo at the wheel, the Ferrari worked its way through the order until it was leading, until it had to pit when the rain came to fit wet weather tyres, which wiped out its lead. Once again, luck was not on its side as Melo’s attempt to get past as many cars as possible finally came to an end after a spectacular collision with another car which put the Ferrari out of the race for good. There was a noteworthy performance from the Extreme Speed Motorsport Ferrari, which finished fifth in the hands of Sharp and Van Overbeek, while its sister car of Cosmo and Brown had to retire after 2hr 12 min with an electrical problem, having earlier set the fastest time in class (1.21.342).
The next round of the American Le Mans Series takes place in a fortnight’s time at Road America, Elkart Lake, Wisconsin.
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